Category Archives: Life Stories

A collection of personal testimonies of different people about salvation by grace through saving faith in Jesus Christ alone.

Rescued from Rebellion, Shaped for Submission

Rebellion against Authority

All throughout my teenage years, I was rebellious. I was disrespectful and often talked back to my mom and aunt. I challenge the status quo. I defy rules I find unreasonable or irrelevant and follow only those I find beneficial. I did things on my own and made decisions for myself. I became independent and self-sufficient. I do what I want not what adults want or what popular opinion dictates.

When I’m told to do something and I don’t find reason to it, I’d do the exact opposite. My mom suggested me to take an in-demand course to have an opportunity to work abroad and get a higher pay. I wasn’t convinced so I chose a completely different field of study. And because I know a lot of Filipinos who want to work or live out of the country, I was adamant in staying. There were times I’d go against the flow for the sake of defying social norms.

Many times I planned to run away from home. But considering the possible consequences, especially in my studies, I resorted to postponing it until I graduated and had my own income.

My best friend. She passed away at 18. I think this is the only picture I have of her.

My rebellious attitude wasn’t apparent because I was studious and goal-oriented. My life revolved only around schoolwork and the most important thing in the world for me was my grades. I prioritized learning and personal development over building relationships. I preferred studying and reading more than spending time with family and friends. I even considered interpersonal skills as the least important skill needed for success. Because of this, I found it difficult to empathize with others.

I was a perfectionist and attentive to details. And I imposed my standards to my family. I easily get angry when things are not orderly or when chores are not done the way I wanted. I was blunt, inconsiderate and insensitive. And I became more assertive when I started working.

During the latter half of college, my usual drive to study waned. One time, my friends and I skipped classes to go out of town. In other occasions, whenever our professor in a boring minor subject was late, a close friend and I would skip class, buy snacks, spread out some university newspapers on the football field, and spend the night having picnic, chatting and stargazing. At the end of the semester, we both got an FA (Failure due to Absences). I had to retake the subject I dislike! What foolishness and lack of foresight.

With high school friends.

Submission to God’s Reign

My rebellion didn’t stop at teen. I’m still very much a sinner. Whenever I sin, I rebel against a holy God.

Rebellion is opposition to authority. The ultimate authority is God, Creator of all the heavens and the earth. The LORD is God, and there is no other; apart from Him there is no God. Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God.

Rebellion is against God’s rule and control over all things. Man always resists God’s rule because he wants to rule over himself. Man wants to be his own god and be able to do what seems right in his own eyes. He wants to be free to do everything he desires without accountability to the Creator and His laws. This is the fallenness of every man, not wanting to submit to God’s will but following one’s own desires. This is man’s rebellion.

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the heart. (Proverbs 21:2)

Whenever we choose to take control of our own lives, we do what we think is right and best for us and fail to realize that our knowledge is limited and what we see is only here and now. We fail to recognize the truth that the Lord is God. He alone is sovereign and all-knowing. He knows infinitely more than what we know and sees from beginning to end. Therefore, the only wise thing to do is to have Him take control of our lives.  His plans for us are for our welfare and not for evil.

Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the LORD and turn away from evil. (Proverbs 3:6-7)

With college friends.

Power in Meekness

After graduation, I soon found myself in the corporate world. My character in youth molded me into young adulthood and I brought with me those characteristics I thought would be helpful for my career advancement. I was driven and didn’t want anything to hinder me from achieving my goals.

The first time I got employed in a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) company, we had a Communications and Culture Trainer whose character made a significant impact on how I view Christianity.

He introduced himself as a Christian. He didn’t share a lot about his religion, I don’t know whether religion and politics were prohibited topics, but he often shared his life story.

He shared his life prior to being a Christian. He told us about the sins he committed especially to his wife and his family. He told us how he lived his life before. It was quite surprising and unbelievable to hear. First, he doesn’t know us personally and would train us only for a few weeks yet he entrusted us with his life story. Second, he was our superior yet he presented himself in meekness and vulnerability by sharing even the sins he committed. Third, what made the most impact on me was the man he was talking about was a completely different person! The man he described was vile but the person talking to us was gentle, kind, humble, considerate and unpretentious.

He also told us about his son Mark Welson Chua. He was a student of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) who was brutally murdered for exposing anomalies in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) unit of the university. I think it was all over the news when it happened although I first heard it from our trainer. He never spoke any grievances toward anyone or any institution. He only recounted the events of his son’s death. There’s a video on YouTube about this news and in the interview, his wife questioned Welson why he hugged one of the convicted murderers of his son and forgave him. The offender also couldn’t believe he was forgiven by Mark’s father.

I remember the time when we visited Welson at the hospital a month after our training. We saw him standing in the hallway. Everyone immediately went to him, greeted him, hugged him, comforted him. I didn’t know how to comfort a sick person. I didn’t know what to say, what to do or how to empathize so I stood a few steps away looking at him. In my heart I was sorry for him and I sincerely hoped and prayed for his healing and recovery. But I didn’t know how to put those into words.

When he noticed I just stood there, he approached me, quickly hugged me and patted me at the back. Oh my gosh! I was embarrassed and amazed at the same time! He was sick yet he was still thinking of other people? For most, my action would have been taken as apathy but he responded with concern and humility despite his condition. He did for me what I was supposed to do for him!

I’m unsure whether we were his last batch of trainees because he didn’t recover from his sickness and passed away 3 months after our training.

With Welson, our trainer, and fellow trainees.

Prior to this, I often hear people describing Christians as the “Alive, Alive” group. On Sundays, we’d hear them sing in the covered court of our subdivision and I’d picture them singing and dancing “Alive, Alive” with hands raised, swaying from side to side to the beat of the music. 

Before my maternal grandmother passed away, she sternly warned me not to change religion. This confused me because of the timing of her advice and also because it had never crossed my mind. There was no reason for me to change religion.

It was because of our trainer’s life story and character that made me view Christianity differently. It made me consider that they may have reliable character contrary to what others say and therefore may have valid claims in their beliefs about God, Jesus, and the Bible. Almost 2 years later, this paved the way for me to ask questions and seek help from Christians.

daddy A's farewell_jpegfile
XM batch 3.2. Convergys Philippines

By God’s Grace Alone

There’s a popular Tagalog song in the ’90s that says: “Gusto kong bumait pero diko magawa.” I want to be good but I can’t, which implies difficulty in achieving it.

It is indeed impossible to be good in God’s standard on our own strength. I don’t think our trainer had a complete change of character out of his own discipline and willpower. I’ve met and talked to a lot of religious leaders in school and in church but his gentleness and kindness was different; he was sincere.

It isn’t in man’s nature to be good. On the contrary, it is in man’s nature to sin and rebel against God.

The Bible says: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” Everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.

And when people sin, they earn what sin pays—death. This death means punishment with eternal destruction; forever separated from the Lord and from His glorious power. Man is condemned to eternal death and punishment because of sin.

But because of God’s unfailing love for us, He made a way to reconcile us back to Him. God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, humbled Himself, came into the world, lived a holy life and willingly sacrificed Himself on the Cross as payment for our sins. So that everyone who believes in Jesus and trusts in His sacrifice on the Cross as payment for sins shall have eternal life.

We cannot save ourselves by being good because God’s standard is perfect holiness and that is fulfilled by Jesus Christ alone. It is for this reason that Christ came into the world. For if keeping the law (following God’s commandments out of our own strength) could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die. 

Therefore, a person’s obedience to God is only because of God’s grace not because of one’s own goodness or willpower.

God saved you by His grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

With college friends.

Watch out for next week’s story: Why I became a Christian.
In this 4-part story series about my life story; a story of God’s faithfulness and mercy.

A Child’s Thanksgiving

Created for a Purpose

When I was a new Christian, a friend lent me her book “A Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren. Reading a devotional was very useful when I didn’t know how to study the Bible. This helped me understand Biblical truths that were too complicated for me to chew by myself.

An excerpt of Day 2 devotional says:

I am your Creator. You were in my care even before you were born (Isaiah 44:2a – CEV).
You are not an accident.
Your birth was no mistake. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did.

Long before you were conceived by your parents, you were conceived in the mind of God. You are alive because God wanted to create you! “The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me.” (Psalm 138:8a NIV).

Because God made you for a reason, he also decided when you would be born and how long you would live. He planned the days of your life in advance, choosing the exact time of your birth and death. “You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your Book!” (Psalm 139:16 LB).

God also planned where you’d be born and where you’d live for his purpose. Your race and nationality are no accident. God left no detail to chance. He planned it all for his purpose.

Nothing in your life is arbitrary. It’s all for a purpose.

God decided how you would be born. Regardless of the circumstances of your birth or who your parents are, God had a plan in creating you. While there are illegitimate parents, there are no illegitimate children. Many children are unplanned by their parents, but they are not unplanned by God. God’s purpose took into account human error, and even sin.

God never does anything accidentally, and he never makes mistakes. He has a reason for everything he creates. Every person was designed with a purpose in mind. God’s motive for creating you was his love.

I didn’t know I needed to hear these words from God. His gentle reassuring words resonated in my heart and comforted my soul. His Word healed a wound I never thought was there.

I am the only child of my parents. I didn’t ask but I knew they didn’t plan or expect me. I cannot say I was unwanted because of the love, care, attention, and provision they lavished on me. But I was conceived out of sin and was born as a consequence of it.

We were taught in school and in the church that God is love. But we were also taught that God hates sin. So I wasn’t aware that in my heart I thought God loves me because I was already born and He had no choice. It’s not like He planned for man to sin so children would be born. And if my parents obeyed God and didn’t sin, I wouldn’t be born. So how could He have loved me before the world began yet hate the reason I was conceived? I didn’t know that because of the complexity of God’s sovereignty and man’s free will, I felt I was only an afterthought for God. But His message to me during my personal time with Him allowed me to understand that in His providence, He makes everything work out according to His plan. Nothing happens apart from His will.

With my mom, aunt and siblings.

Abundance of Love

From the day I was conceived, my dad provided for all my needs. He frequently visited us and took care of me. He never failed to provide for me until I was 3 years old when my mom decided to end the relationship and cease all the communication and provision. That was the only memory I had of my dad — from stories. I was 13 years old when they told me that one of my godfathers is actually my biological father.

After ending the relationship with my dad, my mom eventually met my stepfather and they got married. Soon my siblings were born. When our youngest brother was still a few months old, our dad went to work in another country to provide for us. He kept constant communication with us. He would often send photos, postcards, letters and calls us during weekends. My mom also sent him photos of us, letters and recorded messages on cassette tapes. But we were like most children of distant parents: either we don’t have anything to say or we don’t know what to say; so our messages and phone conversations with him were short.

My mom worked in a government institution in Manila. Since we were living in Laguna, she had to leave early in the morning and often comes home after our bedtime. So during weekdays we’d sometimes see her a few minutes before she leaves for work. Our grandmother and aunts took care of us and attended to our daily school activities.

So the Lord has given me 3 fathers, a mom, and 3 motherly figure who took care of us. I have my biological father, stepfather and my adoptive heavenly Father. We have our mom, grandmother and 2 aunts. God showed His love and care for us through them

Our paternal grandparents and relatives in Iloilo. Our grandfather is at the top center wearing a blue polo and our grandmother is sitting down wearing a green polka dot dress.

Life Stories of Old

Growing up, adults in the family often tell us stories of their childhood. I find them interesting because their experiences were very different from ours. Their life, as they described it, was difficult yet fun. Telling us their story was their way of teaching us the realities of life we were unfamiliar to and showing us the importance of education, hard work, perseverance, and determination.

Our grandparents were hardworking and persevering, and they instilled these values to their children. At a very young age, our mom and her older siblings had to do all household chores and take care of their younger siblings while our grandparents work on the farm. They were trained to do their tasks swiftly. They had to wake up early to get to school on time since it’s of significant distance and they travel only on foot; at times they’d walk barefooted because they didn’t want their slippers to get worn out or soiled with mud. Even on weekends, they can’t be seen sleeping or still lying down when the sun has risen. Sometimes they’d help tend their farm animals, and plant or harvest crops.

When they had to leave the farmlands, their life became more difficult. There were times when they had nothing to eat. They’d go to school with only hot water for breakfast and hope that our grandparents would bring them something to eat for lunch.

When my mom graduated in high school, they immediately moved to Manila to work and study. They got employed in various kinds of jobs to support themselves, their studies and our grandparents.

A Child's Thanksgiving
Our maternal grandparents

Despite all their hardships, I never heard my mom and her siblings complain or speak ill of our grandparents. Instead, I only hear their fondness of them. My mom is grateful that, though provision may sometimes be lacking, our grandparents’ support for them had been abundant.

If they had all their basic needs, they may not have hoped for a better life. If they had owned even a small land in the province, they may not have gone to Manila and pursued a college degree. Their hardships fueled them to persevere. They’re grateful for everything they went through because these brought them to where they are now. And without their determination, we also wouldn’t be where we are now.

Fruit of Perseverance

The blessings we have received were not because of our hard work and perseverance but because of our parents and grandparents’. We have been enjoying the fruit of their perseverance.

We were brought up in a comfortable and sheltered life. We never experienced having nothing to eat; we were provided meals according to our preferences and were even brought freshly cooked lunch in school. I needn’t watch over my younger siblings because they each had their own nanny. We were never required to do household chores because we had helper/s until I was 29. We never went to school barefooted because all our needs and even wants were well-provided for. We never experienced going to school on foot, except when it was just in our neighborhood, because either our aunt or uncle drives us to school. When I was in first year college, they even thought I’d get lost going to Manila because I only learned to ride public transport when I was in high school. We weren’t allowed to work until we graduated. We never lacked anything.

They not only supplied our every need but also provided us comfort and convenience, not to mention all the support they have given us. This was how they showed their love and care for us. They didn’t want us to experience the hardships they went through so they gave us what they would have wanted for themselves.

6 out of 7 siblings. My mom, uncles, aunts and their spouses. Their youngest sister passed on years ago.

The life I’m living now, rescued from a life of chasing after the wind, without fear of death, and certain of eternity, is also a fruit of another Person’s perseverance, sacrifice and unconditional love — Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is the Son of God but He did not think that His being equal with God was something to use for His own benefit. Instead, He gave up everything, even His place with God. He took the humble position of a servant and was born as a human being. During His life as a man, He humbled Himself by being fully obedient to God. He lived a holy life and willingly sacrificed Himself on the Cross as payment for our sins so that everyone who trusts in the finished work of Christ alone shall not perish but have eternal life. He did this not because we are good or worth saving but only because of His love and mercy.

The Bible says: Everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. And when people sin, they earn what sin pays—death. Eternal separation from God and eternal punishment is the penalty of sin. It is for this reason that Christ came into the world. For if keeping the law (following God’s commandments out of our own strength) could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die. We cannot save ourselves by being good because God’s standard is perfect holiness and that is fulfilled by Jesus Christ alone. So that everyone who believes in Jesus and trusts in His sacrifice on the Cross as payment for sins shall have eternal life.

A Child’s Thanksgiving

A Child's Thanksgiving
A photo taken by my biological dad 30 years after he last saw me.

Whenever I think about God’s faithfulness in my life, I can’t help but remember everything God has done in our family, beginning from my grandparents. My grandmother almost died when she was pregnant with my mom. My parents didn’t plan about me but God foreknew and created me for His purpose. He has been protecting and blessing my family, He gave me an opportunity to live and now He even adopted me so I can be called His child. How gracious are You, Lord? Thanksgiving is even a pitiful response for everything You have done.

This is how You have been taking care of me. You have placed me in a family to be my shelter, to protect, love and care for me. This is how You have loved me, this how You fathered me. You sheltered me, protected, cared for, loved, provided for and sustained me. You never missed a single moment. You are always present every second of my life. You are my Parent who cherished me as a child. You said, “I have carried you since you were born; I have taken care of you from your birth. Even when you are old, I will be the same. Even when your hair has turned gray, I will take care of you. I made you and will take care of you.” (Isaiah 46:3-4 NCV). How sweet are You, Lord?

Who am I that the Lord of all the earth, Creator of the universe, majestic and all-powerful God would be mindful of me? I’m just a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes! Yet You chose me and called me Your own.

Because of Your unfailing love and faithfulness, there’s no other fitting response but to serve the purpose of my existence, to be how You intended me to be and do exactly what You purposed me to do. And that is to know You more intimately each day and to proclaim Your Name to all the earth so that others too may know of Your greatness and bring You glory! You have created us in Your image, and Christ’s sacrifice is for us to be reconciled back to You and be conformed to His image.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

Christ’s Righteousness Not My Own

Rone Jayson Mariazeta /

I’m an adventurous yuppie who loved going to places, trying new things, and having fun. I often went to parties, bars, and celebrations. I embraced this kind of lifestyle because it’s the reality in my work industry. Having fun was very important for me because it was my way of relieving stress from work and other frustrations. I’d have fun even if it hurts or offends others. I’d make inappropriate jokes, selfishly caring only about what I think and feel. I was inconsiderate of other people.

I was self-righteous. Going to church regularly has become a deeply embedded practice for me since childhood especially having gone to a school that imposes church attendance on Sundays. As an adult, I would go to church every Sunday only to fulfill my duty and feel holier and superior to others who don’t go to church. Then I’d go back to my old lifestyle. And because I regularly go to church, I don’t care what other people would say or think of me. Going to church every Sunday already makes me a better person.

One day, a colleague invited me to an event called “Agents Day”. He said it’s a breakfast gathering of call center agents. I consented. My boss implied that I was too polite to agree, which gave me the idea that it’s an activity of a different religious group. But since I was adventurous, I went and tried to see what it was about.

After the event, a white guy shared the Gospel to me. I was established in my religious belief so I just listened but never agreed on anything he said.

He told me that: Everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. We cannot save ourselves by being good or doing good deeds because there is no one good or righteous before God and His standard is perfect holiness. The wages of our sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Jesus paid the penalty of our sins so that whoever trusts in His sacrifice on the Cross shall not perish but have eternal life.

Afterward, the same colleague invited me to attend a Bible study. Adventurous as I was, again I said yes. I was really curious about the setup of this “Bible study”. At first, I was uncomfortable because I didn’t know anyone in the group, and also because they have a weird personality and were too spiritual for me. But I continued to attend and eventually made new friends.

Rone Jayson Mariazeta, life testimony for Jesus, Bible study group,
This was the first time I attended a Bible study.

I found it interesting to see how they study the Bible. They also desire and strive to follow the teachings in the Bible which, at first, got me scared because it was uncommon and contrary to what I was used to. Gradually, I came to know them more and learned more about the teachings of the Bible and Jesus Christ.

What touched me the most was seeing how selfless these people were serving one another and those who are in need. Praying with other people is one of the most moving experiences I ever had; it was the time when a group leader wholeheartedly prayed for me.

Surrendering my life to Jesus was a gradual process. Being with people who have a different outlook from the world and striving to submit to the teachings of the Bible, knowing more of Jesus and His sacrifice on the Cross as payment for our sins, learning about the character of God and being confronted of my sins through our Bible studies, eventually made me decide to surrender my life to Him.

By God’s grace, He is changing me from a self-righteous, insensitive person, to a disciple who loves serving other people. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45).

God faithfully continues to guide me. I still stumble and fall, I still have selfish motives and actions. But now, Jesus my living God and Savior reminds me to repent of my sins, turn to Him and to always seek Him for guidance. He continues to change my heart and mind day by day to become the person He desires me to be for His glory. Thank You, Lord!

Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)

Rone Jayson Mariazeta, life testimony for Jesus,

A personal testimony of Rone Jayson Mariazeta, a coach in a Business process outsourcing (BPO) company. He assists in leading and teaching an adults Bible study group in Greenhills Christian Fellowship.

He’s fond of watching travel vlogs. He’s interested in learning about other cultures and international cuisines. He loves trying out new food. He also gives importance in taking care of his body with balanced diet and exercise. He’s into pilates, yoga, HIIT, and soon taichi.

God’s Faithfulness in the Wilderness

"God's Faithfulness in the Wilderness" - Ron Macalipay

Months before my salvation, my life was one of searching and questioning. What is the purpose of life? There was a longing within me.

I was living a good life. I have a happy family and a good career in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) Industry. I get to do what I want and buy what I need. Until I compared myself with my friends. They were more successful than I was. They had everything I wanted: high-paying jobs, properties and investments, luxury to travel anywhere in the world, and opportunity to work abroad.

In 2011, I resigned from the BPO and left the Philippines with the goal of getting a job in Singapore. At first, everything happened according to my plan.

Until I experienced being in the wilderness. It’s like the situation in Deuteronomy 8:1-5. when the Israelites wandered in the wilderness for 40 years because of their disobedience and lack of trust in God in taking hold of the Promised land. God humbled and tested them causing them to hunger yet He remained faithful in taking care of and providing for them.

In the wilderness, God humbled and tested me. He knows what’s in my heart. He humbled me that He allowed me to hunger and experience many troubles.

I did not realize how difficult it is to be alone. I used to have someone who prepares everything for me (food to eat every day, laundry, etc.) My savings were depleting. I had no relatives and friends in that country to lend help. All of my 3 job applications were unsuccessful because of working visa issues. Singapore was in recession during my stay. I had to exit the country once my tourist visa ended and enter again to secure another 30-day stay. I did not tell my family about my situation.

I had a roommate who is a fellow Filipino and happens to be a born-again Christian. He invited me to attend their Wednesday worship service. At first, my motivation to attend every service was to save money from buying dinner as they always prepare food for their guests. I experienced the love of Jesus through these Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW). They prayed for me, helped me with my job applications, and even blessed me financially. God was with me in the wilderness. I started to know Him and humbly asked for His help.

One day, a church member asked me to be his replacement for his tutorial job as he needed to focus on his regular job. This tutorial job helped me pay my bed-space, fare, food, and things I needed during my stay. The family I tutored for became my second family.

Ron Macalipay, Alpha-BGC group,
Alpha BGC ministry — reaching out to the young professionals for Christ.

Singapore was a time of testing and turning point for me. I needed to go through this trial because God wants me to take the path He prepared for me. He taught me that His plans for my life are far greater than my plans for my life. And I only need to fully surrender to His will. Through this experience, God humbled me and caused me to turn to Him for help and guidance.

In the wilderness, He never took His eyes off me. It was a season of many troubles but, in the end, it turned out to be victorious because of the forgiveness and salvation offered by Christ through His finished work on the Cross.

May 27, 2011 was when I gave my life to Jesus and decided to be baptized. From then on, a lot has changed. The Bible says: “Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” My perspective in life changed especially with how I define success. I realized it’s not about the things we see outwardly. Success that the world can offer is temporal but being at the center of God’s will is the true success that lasts for eternity.

The Apostle John said: Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father (God) in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Lord, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever. (1 John 2:15-17)

I am still a work in progress. I still need to experience God’s stretching and testing. But in all the stretching and shaping, I know that He is molding me to be a vessel He intends me to be for His glory. My identity is in Christ. I am His child and He delights in me.

Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him, and He will act. (Psalm 37:4-5)

Ron Macalipay, testimony,

A personal testimony of Ronald Y. Macalipay, a child of God who loves to sing for his Father. He’s actively involved in different ministries at Jesus Flock Gateway Church (JFGC). He serves as a worship leader in their local church and is also part of the leadership team of the Young Adults ministry and Alpha BGC evangelistic ministry. All these for God’s glory and for proclaiming His great Name to the nations!

Can You Be Certain Whether You Will Be With God in Heaven?

Jessica Mae Simon,

Important life questions

I was in first-year high school when two missionaries, Miss Baning (a Filipino) and an American, went to our school and invited us to utilize their newly opened small library. They went from room to room to invite the students and to pray for the whole class.

During that time, I was religious and I thought I was already a Christian. I became the representative of my family in attending Sunday Mass for two years. Within the second year, there was an increasing number of questions in my mind that no one could answer: Why were we praying to Mary and other saints? Aren’t we supposed to pray only to God, not to men? And several practices I couldn’t understand.

Second-year high school came and we were given a project wherein I needed books about scientific names of plants. I found those books in the mini-library of the missionaries. The second time I visited, they shared about salvation through Christ. They asked me and two other students two questions:

The first question was — If you were to die today, do you know for certain that you will be with God in Heaven?

I said “I don’t know” because I thought saying yes would be too arrogant.

The second question was — If God were to ask you, “Why should I let you into My Heaven?” what would you say?

Because of the good things I have done.

Those were my answers but with great uncertainty within me because I admit that I frequently sin. So how can I really go to heaven? Miss Baning shared us the way to heaven.

How to know with certainty you’ll be with God in Heaven

Did you know that the Bible tells how you can know for sure that you have eternal life and will go to be with God in Heaven? In 1 John 5:13, the Apostle John said: “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life.”

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life. (1 John 5:13)

Heaven is a free gift through God’s grace. The Bible says: The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. And because it’s a free gift, it is not earned or deserved. No amount of personal effort, good works, or religious deeds can earn a place in Heaven for you. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done; it is a free gift from God given to those who believe and trust in the finished work of Christ.

Man is a sinner. Everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. We sin in thought, word or deed; we sin when we do what we shouldn’t do and not do what we ought to do. Whether minor or grave, sin is rebellion against God. Because of this, man cannot save himself. If you wanted to save yourself by good deeds, do you know how good you would have to be? Be therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in Heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). God requires holiness. With such a high standard, no one can save himself.

God is merciful. He does not want anyone to be destroyed but wants everyone to repent. But the same Bible which tells us that God is love, also tells us that God is just and therefore must punish sin. He says “. . . (I) will by no means clear the guilty . . .” (Exodus 34:7). And “. . . the soul that sins, it shall die.” (Ezekiel 18:4).

Saving faith is
NOT mere head knowledge
nor a temporal faith.
Saving faith is
Jesus Christ alone
for eternal life.

God made a way for us to be reconciled back to Him in the Person of Jesus Christ. Who is Jesus? The Bible tells us clearly that He is the infinite God-Man. “In the beginning was the Word (Jesus). . . and the Word (Jesus) was God. And the Word (Jesus) was made flesh, and dwelt among us . . .” (John 1:1,14). Jesus Christ came to earth and lived a sinless life, but while on earth, what did He do? He died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins and rose from the grave to purchase a place for us in Heaven. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on Him (Jesus) the sins of us all. (Isaiah 53:6). Jesus Christ bore our sin in His body on the cross and now offers us eternal life (be with God in Heaven) as a free gift. This gift is received by faith.

Saving faith is not mere head knowledge, like believing certain historical facts. The Bible says that the devil believes there is one God, so believing that there is one God is not saving faith. Saving faith is also not mere temporal faith, that is, trusting God for temporary crises such as financial, family, or physical needs. Now these are good, and you should trust Christ for these, but they are not saving faith! Saving faith is TRUSTING in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life. It means resting upon Christ alone and what He has done rather than in what you or I have done to get us into Heaven. “. . . Believe (trust) in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved . . .” (Acts 16:31).

It means that you need to:

  • Transfer your trust 
    From what you have been doing to what Christ has done for you on His cross
  • Accept Christ as Savior
    Open the “door” to your heart and invite Him in.
    He says:  “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock:  if any man hears My voice, and open the door, I will come into Him . . . .” (Revelation 3:20)
  • Receive Jesus Christ as Lord
    Give Him the “driver’s seat” and “controls” of your life, not the “back seat.”
  • Repent
    Confess and renounce your sins and turn to God.
    Be willing to turn from anything that is not pleasing to Him. He will reveal His will to you as you grow in your relationship with Him.

— Gospel presentation resources: Steps to Life. Evangelism Explosion International

Jessica Mae Simon,

Growing in a Bible-believing church

I willingly accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior. I placed aside my former belief that good works can save a person. There’s only one way to heaven and that’s through Jesus Christ, accepting Him as Lord and Savior. I wrote that important decision in my small notebook together with the date. I had no spectacular feeling at that time. I continued my routine – pray and go to church. But more and more questions surfaced and I didn’t know whom to ask for help.

When it was almost our graduation, one of my classmates, Filamer, had comics about religion. It was about The Reformation, Martin Luther, and other major issues about my faith. I became more bewildered so I stopped going to church. For two months, I read the Bible starting from Genesis. It was very difficult for me to understand everything written in it because I felt that everything was new for me! All my life I had known God to be loving and forgiving but as I read the Bible intently for the first time, I was shocked! God’s image became wrathful. I was discouraged finding out that God took sides and meddled with the battles and wars in favor of the Israelites. I saw a different God.

College came and confusion still abounded. I phoned Charity, my schoolmate in high school, and shared with her some of my concerns. She told me about Laoag Fundamental Baptist Church where her dad serves as a pastor. She mentioned about the Adult Sunday classes where they could answer my questions. She didn’t explicitly invite me to attend but I invited myself to be in it.

That little church helped me know Christ more and more. I’m thankful that in times of my difficulties, they were with me. That’s why I consider the church, in general, my family. I thank God that through His church, I experience His love.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will show you which path to take. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Jessica Mae Simon,

A personal testimony of Jessica Mae Simon, sales executive at Ford Ilocos Norte. She is part of the Young Adults Bible Study Ministry at Laoag Fundamental Baptist Church.

Living in God’s Love

Christina Canapp
With the girls I was teaching in Sunday School right before I left for the Philippines. That’s me 2nd from the left.

Growing up in a Christian home, a daughter of a pastor and saved at a young age; my spiritual development and my childhood development were combined. I was surrounded with stories and lessons about Jesus and God.

Chick tracts, Romans 3, uncontainable musings

At around the age of 6, I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ. I liked to read the “Chick Tracts” because they were comics. However, my older sister informed me that they weren’t for fun; I was supposed to get saved! She then showed me using the tract how I was a sinner that deserved hell, but Christ paid the penalty for my sin.

God is holy. The idea behind the concept of holiness is “separation.” God is separate from everything that is sinful and evil. He is without sin and cannot tolerate sin.

Everyone has sinned. There is no one righteous, not even one. We all fall short of God’s glorious standard. When we sinned, we have become separated from God. And the penalty for our sin is death. This death means eternal punishment deserving for our sins.

But because of God’s great love for us, He sent His Son Jesus Christ into the world not to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. God requires holiness. Jesus lived that holy life for us and sacrificed Himself as payment for our sins so that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

What must we do then to be saved? Jesus said to repent of our sins and turn to God. Trust in the finished work of Christ and surrender our life to Him. Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved. Only by the grace of God through saving faith in Jesus Christ alone.

Chick tracts, repent and turn to God, uncontainable musings

As I grew older and could understand more of life, my understanding and walk with the Lord also grew and deepened. I was surrounded by good mentors that poured Scriptural truth in my life. In my teen years, God was consistently working in my life to draw me closer to Him.  I increasingly differed from my friends in their standards and lifestyle choices. When my best friend fell pregnant at the age of 16, it was the final split. I no longer tried to hang on to friends that consistently pulled me towards the worlds’ way of thinking. I would choose to follow the Lord even if it meant I didn’t have a best friend. Being an introvert, I placed a high value on having one close friend to connect with, but God knew that and has since provided people in my life who have stood by me through the hardest times of my life.

In high school, I was pursuing studies to be a veterinary. However, God called me to be a missionary (not yet specifically to the Philippines) and I initially said no. I wanted to be a vet and not leave home. However, God used the song “Shout to the Lord” to remind me that the mountains bow and the seas roar at the sound of His name and who was I to say no to my Lord? From there I was committed and went to Bible School. Throughout the 4 years, the Lord led me step by step to eventually join the Philippine field. There were plenty of challenges, fears, excitement (raising support, going into the “unknown”, etc.) but God was faithful every step of the way to comfort and guide me.

God’s gracious love to me is what I live for. I am completely undeserving of His grace but He has poured it out in my life. So I serve Him in any way He shows me. This has led to me serving in the Philippines since 2006 as a missionary in a variety of roles.

God is faithfully working in me and is using circumstances and His Word to mold me to be more like Him. I know that whatever happens in my life is for my good, even if it is not pleasant all the time because God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.

Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days. (Psalm 90:14)

Christina Canapp,

Hi! I’m Christina Canapp, a believer in Jesus Christ saved by grace. I grew up in a Christian home in the States, moved to the Philippines in 2006 as a missionary with New Tribes Mission (now New Tribes Church Planters of the Philippines) and have served in a variety of roles. I ‘m blessed to be where I am.