Tag Archives: Evangelism

Who Will Go for Jesus?

When Did We Become Passive?

Father, since when and why have we become so passive?! Have we been like this all this time?

At the beginning of this ministry, I asked long-time ministry leaders and volunteers to share their salvation testimony. Having known them and served alongside them for a decade, I was excited and confident that they would be more than eager to grab the opportunity to share their story beyond their spheres of influence.

Their response was the exact opposite. At first, I was disappointed but as I think about it, I get more confused.

We are part of a local church where the Bible is faithfully preached. We were taught about the Biblical basis and the importance of evangelism and missions, there are a lot of equipping classes and training about evangelism and missions, there are numerous ministries and church activities that allow us to apply what we’ve learned apart from sharing the Gospel and witnessing to our spheres of influence at home, school or work.

I was in a ministry which multiplied from one Bible study group to about a dozen, and it was all because of building relationships and witnessing to friends in the workplace.

So I do not understand where their response is coming from. It’s not that they are unwilling, they’re just busy. Unavailable.

Unavailability is one of our challenges in encouraging others to take part in the different tasks in the ministry or in helping meet the needs of others in the church.

So how come they responded the same way? Do they realize it or are they unaware? Is the task too demanding? Is it because of the unresolved misunderstanding?

Writing one’s salvation testimony is just a one time work, not a lifetime commitment. And this is the testimony we had written and had shared before, I suppose, and we’re commanded and taught to share with others. So I really don’t know what’s the challenge.

After two months of asking people and following up on them, the Lord reminded me of a Bible verse so I moved on and asked Christian friends from other churches instead.

I was surprised they were more than willing and excited to do it. This was God’s affirmation that whatever work done for Him is His work. He planned the content, provides resources, and brings people to contribute. He has firmly and faithfully shown, week after week, that He is in control and will provide for every content He wants written or shared.

An affirmation and reminder that no one is indispensable in God’s work. In the absence, unwillingness or unavailability of one, the Lord provides another. He will never leave Himself without a witness. Jesus said even the stones would cry out if people keep quiet. And the whole creation speaks of His glory.

Why Have We Become Apathetic?

In August, someone sent a personal testimony that said: While at Bible school, I heard about people around the world really wanting to get to know God but there weren’t enough Christians willing to go.

I’m aware that there is a greater need in other parts of the world, that very few commits to serve as a cross-cultural missionary, and Christians do not share the Gospel more than we ought to. At the same time, I thought most “committed Christians” are ready, willing and available especially for the Gospel, and my experience with believers in my local church is an isolated case.

This statement coming from someone I know who lived on the other side of the world reflects what I have seen this year in this side of our world with regard to witnessing in our Judea and Samaria. This awoke me to the reality of how Christians respond to the Great Commission.

I thought the greater need for the Gospel in other parts of the world was mainly because of their resistance to the Gospel but now I understand it is because very few believers have the heart for the world. But how can we see the need of the ends of the world when we are passive even to the needs of our Judea and Samaria?

It made Jesus’ command in Matthew 9:38 and Luke 10:2 so true, real, relevant, imperative, urgent, living and active — to beg for laborers to be thrown into the harvest field!

Do a lot of Christians know not only the command but also it’s relevance and the state of the world? And if we are aware, what are we doing about it? Now I understand why missions-minded people are at times frustrated.

Indeed, a Christ-centered theology is a missionary theology.

How, why, and since when did we become so apathetic? Is it because of lack of awareness or lack of heart or both? Do our hearts break what breaks Yours?

How can we be so consumed of our own lives? How can we think only of our own selves, family, career, welfare, and advancement? Sometimes we even take pride of our ministries and programs in the church when we can’t even intentionally and effectively reach out to our Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria and have forgotten that You also told us to go to the ends of the earth. Jesus, You are the God of the whole world not just of our family and our city!

Who Will Go for Jesus?

Looking back at the pain that happened in the recent years, I now find the reasons for my tears seem so petty compared to the greater need of a quarter of the world population who have yet to hear Jesus’ name for the first time, and the sacrifice and persecution that a handful of missionaries and believers endure for the sake of the Gospel.

If there’s very few who are willing, available, see the need, have the heart, and committed to finishing the Great Commission, then who would do the remaining and still extensive task? Who would go for You, Lord?

Here I am, send me! I want to go, Father, please I beg You to throw me into the harvest! I want to go to a people where no one has heard Jesus’ name, where the Gospel is most needed. I want to share in the suffering of a handful of believers who sacrifice their whole life for the sake of the Gospel. Millions of people have been waiting for 2,000 years. How much longer do they have to wait?! Thousands die every hour, there’s no time to waste. The remaining task is still so immense, it cannot be done by only a handful! Throw workers into these unengaged unreached people groups, Father. Throw me!

Have mercy, Father. Have mercy on these people who have yet to hear Your Gospel. Forgive us, Your people, for being apathetic, selfish, and self-centered. Change our hearts, open our eyes to see the great need, enable us to respond the way Jesus responded to our need — with love and compassion for the lost, and remind us that His sacrifice is not exclusive to our family, friends, and community but for the whole world.

Facing A Task Unfinished | Keith & Kristyn Getty

Facing a task unfinished
That drives us to our knees
A need that, undiminished
Rebukes our slothful ease
We, who rejoice to know Thee
Renew before Thy throne
The solemn pledge we owe Thee
To go and make Thee known

Where other lords beside Thee
Hold their unhindered sway
Where forces that defied Thee
Defy Thee still today
With none to heed their crying
For life, and love, and light
Unnumbered souls are dying
And pass into the night

We go to all the world
With kingdom hope unfurled
No other name has power to save
But Jesus Christ the Lord

We bear the torch that flaming
Fell from the hands of those
Who gave their lives proclaiming
That Jesus died and rose
Ours is the same commission
The same glad message ours
Fired by the same ambition
To Thee we yield our powers

We go to all the world
With kingdom hope unfurled
No other name has power to save
But Jesus Christ the Lord

O Father who sustained them
O Spirit who inspired
Saviour, whose love constrained them
To toil with zeal untired
From cowardice defend us
From lethargy awake!
Forth on Thine errands send us
To labour for Thy sake

We go to all the world
With kingdom hope unfurled
No other name has power to save
But Jesus Christ The Lord

We go to all the world
His kingdom hope unfurled
No other name has power to save
But Jesus Christ The Lord

Declare His Glory Among the Nations!

Declare His Glory Among the Nations!

Psalm 96

Sing to the Lord a new song;
    sing to the Lord, all the earth.
Sing to the Lord, praise his name;
    proclaim His salvation day after day.
Declare His glory among the nations,
    His marvelous deeds among all peoples.

For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
    He is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are idols,
    but the Lord made the heavens.
Splendor and majesty are before Him;
    strength and glory are in His sanctuary.

Ascribe to the Lord, all you families of nations,
    ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.
Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name;
    bring an offering and come into His courts.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness;
    tremble before Him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns.”
    The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;
    He will judge the peoples with equity.

11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
12 Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
13 Let all creation rejoice before the Lord, for He comes,
    He comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples in His faithfulness.


Last week, the Lord prompted me to create a Facebook (FB) page. It’s part of the plan but I was not yet practically prepared; there are still a lot of things to do. But because of His persistent nudge, I did it. And I’m so glad I obeyed because of the opportunities that week. I realized this is God’s perfect timing.

I am so excited because, though it was planned, the timing came too early and unexpectedly for me. I’m also excited about how the Lord planned out not just the posts but also my activities this month.

As I include the FB page in my weekly tasks, I researched the usefulness/relevance of FB and Instagram (IG) stories in businesses and brands. One article I read quoted the population of FB users at about 2.7 billion as of April this year. I quickly checked the world population and we are now at 7.7 billion.

The contents of this blog will only reach social media and internet users. With Facebook having the highest population and others using multiple social media, it means that even if this content reaches all those users, it won’t even be half of the population!? I know THAT is a big number.

“But You promised an abundant harvest!”

The Lord’s hand is not too short to reach the whole world. He can save every soul if He wanted to! So half of the population is too small with a great God!

The passage above was the sermon today (Missions month). As if my excitement is not enough, He ignited the fire in my heart all the more through the message and vibrant worship! All I can say was yes and amen!

I remembered the 7.7 billion and lifted them up to the Lord. “You promised an abundant harvest. I don’t want a number, I want a percentage! More than half of the world population is even meager to Your power!”

As I prayed and the congregation sang songs to the Lord, I remembered my actions. I cry for the 7.7 billion people but I only share the website to a few?! Only to those who – I think – will be interested? Do I get to choose who hear God’s Word and His marvelous works? I want to see God’s promise of abundant harvest but I do not give everyone a chance to hear? Ha!

Now I feel pressured more than excited. 😆 One of the reasons this is not fully “live” is there are still a lot of things to be done. I feel like the Lord is moving too fast and I am barely catching up. But I know the content – Gospel – and my obedience is more important; everything else is secondary. So I have to make things work and use whatever is available.

Whatever shortcomings and inadequacies I or this site have are irrelevant to God’s power. This is not my work but God’s work. “So if You tell me ‘do it NOW’! Because You say so, I will.”

No Turning Back

Unconventional Calling

In January 2019, I reconnected with my Christian friends. I was excited to share with my them everything God told me. But the moment I met with someone, the Lord warned me to prepare my heart for the unexpected. I thought being away for a year and a month was a very long time but maybe it isn’t because a lot hasn’t changed. I found myself back to the same situation as I was in 2017.

“Why aren’t you working?”

“You can apply here or there.”

“Until when do you plan to be unemployed?”

“So how do you provide for your needs?”

“Even Paul was a tentmaker.”

“Single women shouldn’t leave their job.”

“How about your responsibility to provide for yourself?”

“Why are you depending on your family?”

“You’re burdening your family.”

When the apostles left their profession, they had Jesus in the flesh with them. Most Christians who left their jobs to follow God’s call for their lives are in exchange employed either in a church or a Christian organization. Missionaries raise support from a church or a missions organization, while others are employed to support themselves, just like the Apostle Paul who was a tent maker (where the Christian term “tentmaking/tentmaker” came from). Wives who left their careers to be the primary caregiver of their children have their husband to provide for them, but they also get their share of disapproval from the world.

None of these is the case with me. I’m a single woman who quit her job to bear witness for Christ through writing. I’m not employed in any institution or organization. I don’t have a business and I don’t intend to venture on one. I no longer have any form of income that would sustain me. I’m not paid to write and I don’t intend to monetize this blog nor receive any form of donation from anyone. In a literal sense, I work alone and I work for free. I know; I live a pathetic life. 😁

Some may reason we can evangelize in the workplace so why choose “unemployment”? Or I can continue working and write in my spare time. My motive is right but the means is foolish. This is the root of their disapproval: Who do I expect to provide for myself if I quit my job? Do I intend on burdening my family for the rest of my life? God’s calling for me is unconventional. Others may call it impractical or even irresponsible which should clearly show, according to them, it’s contrary to God’s will. These are reasonable arguments, nonetheless focuses only on man’s strengths and limitations, not on God’s power. And responding “the Lord provides” would be taken either as blind faith or presuming on God despite all the evidence and affirmations from God’s Word.

Though their words won’t change my mind, they still affect me. It pains to hear these words not from the world but from friends who profess the same faith. And the most painful is the statement that I’m burdening my family. It isn’t easy for me to obey the Lord in “renouncing” my family to completely follow His call and their words only rubbed salt in the wound.

But I know God won’t lead me to do something only to leave me to my own devices. And indeed He is faithful! It amazes me how He has been blessing my family more than before. This is His way of showing me how He generously provides, and how He keeps His promise that He is indeed taking care of my family and I needn’t worry about them. These are constant truths but my perspective was clouded when I was still helping them.

Another unexpected event which made me doubt about a specific task and almost caused a delay in the planned blog schedule was, I never thought within my circle of friends who are leaders or actively involved in ministry, no one is ready to share their testimony. I had to persistently ask the most accommodating just to produce the first story. One of the goals of this blog is to encourage believers to boldly share their life story for God’s glory. I was so certain they’d catch the vision. I even imagined they’d also be excited to take part in it because I thought this opportunity is something Christians would take advantage of. It’s not that they’re unwilling. Most are of course willing but don’t have time. They did say they were busy with work, and maybe with ministry and other things too, so maybe a month isn’t enough to write a testimony. I should’ve also considered that they may find it more difficult to write than to speak especially using a foreign language.

These are some experiences that opened my eyes to the realities within a Christian community. I ran back to God crying: Lord, do you really want me to do it this way? Please talk to me, Lord! Speak to me again. Tell me again. I know that if this is Your will, You can affirm me again. Just speak to me again. I want to hear Your voice.

(I would like to point out two things. First, this story is known only within my circle of friends in the church, which means this is unknown to the congregation, and how my friends responded doesn’t represent our local church as a whole. Second, my purpose is not to malign my Christian friends but to stay true to the purpose of this blog and what God has called me to do: to testify about God’s work in my life; to testify about God’s unconventional calling for me, which inevitably includes the context of the story; to share the realities I have experienced and learned a lot from; and to serve as part of a more complex and incredible story I will be sharing soon. In God’s sovereignty, He allowed these things to happen for His purposes. This would also help us understand that everyone is imperfect even Christians; only God is perfect and all of us need Him.)

Outrageous Commitment

The Lord spoke to me through the sermon of Pastor Ta Tumu of Mosaic Church, Lloydminster. His sermon was about the calling of Elisha recorded in 1 Kings 19:19-21.

19 So Elijah went and found Elisha son of Shaphat plowing a field. There were twelve teams of oxen in the field, and Elisha was plowing with the twelfth team. Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak across his shoulders and then walked away. 20 Elisha left the oxen standing there, ran after Elijah, and said to him, “First let me go and kiss my father and mother good-bye, and then I will go with you!”

Elijah replied, “Go on back, but think about what I have done to you.”

21 So Elisha returned to his oxen and slaughtered them. He used the wood from the plow to build a fire to roast their flesh. He passed around the meat to the townspeople, and they all ate. Then he went with Elijah as his assistant.

So Elijah went and found Elisha son of Shaphat plowing a field. There were twelve teams of oxen in the field, and Elisha was plowing with the twelfth team.  

Elijah was a prophet of God. During those times, God speaks through prophets. They are spokesmen for God; they speak in God’s name and by His authority.

Elisha, on the other hand, was a farmer as he is described plowing a field.

While Elisha was busy plowing the field and was driving the 12th pair of oxen, Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak across his shoulders and then walked away. The cloak is a symbol of Elijah’s calling upon his life and on his ministry as a prophet. Throwing the cloak across Elisha’s shoulder is like saying: “Elisha, God has a job for you, so leave everything you’re doing.” It meant he would be Elijah’s successor.

Elisha left the oxen standing there, ran after Elijah, and said to him, “First let me go and kiss my father and mother good-bye, and then I will go with you!”

Elijah replied, “Go on back, but think about what I have done to you.”

Elijah didn’t stop Elisha from going back home. He gave Elisha space to make the commitment himself without pressure, without manipulation. He has to decide. 

In the previous post “Counting the Cost of Discipleship”, we studied Luke 9:57-62. There was a would-be disciple who wanted to follow Jesus but asked to go back first and say goodbye to his family to which Jesus replied: “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” Jesus’ reply reflects the man’s divided heart for God. 

No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God. (Luke 9:62)

While in this passage we see Elijah allowing Elisha to say goodbye to his family first. So how do we reconcile these two passages? Does it mean Elisha also has a divided heart? Or does it mean Jesus pressured the would-be disciple by replying that way?

First, we need to remember that Jesus is God. He knows the hearts of men and He knew the heart of that would-be disciple, that he has a divided heart. Jesus wanted him to understand the cost of being His disciple — giving a wholehearted commitment. He wanted the carefully thought out, understood commitment of a lifetime. So it was still the man’s decision whether he would follow Jesus on God’s terms. By God’s grace, the decision is still ours to make.

It was also Elisha’s decision to make. But Elijah reminded him to think about what he had done to him. So Elisha went back but what he did afterward reflects his outrageous commitment to God’s calling for his life.

So Elisha returned to his oxen and slaughtered them. He used the wood from the plow to build a fire to roast their flesh. He passed around the meat to the townspeople, and they all ate. Then he went with Elijah as his assistant.

Elisha owned 12 pairs of oxen which shows he probably was a wealthy person. And wealthy people often got a lot of options and possibilities. But now he’s about to leave all of those and attach himself to a prophet and face a life of opposition, danger, and sacrifice. He chose to leave all of the options back.

A plow is a symbol of identity for a farmer. For somebody who works the field, that was his life. Take away his plow; he’s a nobody. That’s how important the plow is for a farmer. But Elisha used the wood from his plow to build a fire to roast his oxen, which were also part of his life as a farmer.

What he did was a defining part of who he is. If there is evidence or a sign of his commitment to follow God’s call for his life, it’s him burning everything that he looks to for his identity, for his security, for his comfort, and for his provision. It’s all included in that plow. Burning that plow is an extraordinary commitment that says: “I am going to do what You (God) say I’m going to do.”

Elijah placed his cloak over Elisha which meant God has called him into ministry. And Elisha is basically saying: “I’m ready for it! I don’t care how hard it gets, how high the cost, I’m not turning back. I cannot go back to my old life. I’ve burned the plow. That way of life is cut off from me. There is no retreat!”

No Turning Back 

Pastor Ta’s sermon through the example of Elisha’s outrageous commitment to the Lord fueled me at the time when I was beginning to doubt and was getting discouraged. I’m grateful for the examples of these faithful and committed men of God.

And most of all, the example set by Jesus Christ Himself. Jesus, the Son of God, gave up His divine privileges and took the humble position of a slave, humbled himself and became obedient to death on a cross to pay the penalty for our sins.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
(Hebrews 12:1-3)

Yes, Lord, I don’t care how hard it gets, how high the cost, how painful the journey; I will follow You completely! I will ‘burn’ everything that I look to for my identity, security, comfort, and provision. I don’t want anything or anyone that would hinder me from doing what You want me to do. And You alone can fully move me to do this.

While every believer in Christ is commanded to proclaim the Gospel, each one has a specific function in the Body of Christ. I shouldn’t allow other people’s response to affect my obedience because it is I whom God commissioned to do this specific task; therefore, I’m the one accountable for it.

The doors in the workplace are still wide open for me. Opportunities are still there. I can go back whenever I choose to. The experiences and skills I acquired are still a part of me. But I decided to leave all my options behind and chose to live a “pathetic life” for Jesus Christ my Lord. Why? Because Jesus said so, I will. My decision is final. There’s no turning back.

I no longer see myself going back. God told me before: “The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.” He already gave me freedom; there’s no point of going back. Regardless of challenges or difficulties, oppositions and discouragements, I cannot see myself doing any other work but this.

Since the time God called me to Himself, I knew I’d be leaving the corporate industry soon. I had been asking Him what He wants me to do for the rest of my life but He was silent. So I stayed where I was. I enjoyed my work and my time with friends at the workplace. But at one point, I saw an opportunity and risked changing career in an effort to find out where God wants me to be.

This is the answer! This is the work God wants me to do for the rest of my life — testifying for Jesus to the whole world until my last breath. And blogging is just the beginning. A preparation for bigger tasks ahead. That’s why it’s imperative I leave everything behind so I can focus on this training.

My eyes are fixed on God’s great promises ahead of me, why should I look back on mundane and temporal things behind me? Greater things are yet to come! Indeed, greater things are yet to come. And I wouldn’t let anything or anyone hinder me from seeing and experiencing the full realization of that vision!

I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back. Not even looking back.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

I Have Decided | Live | Elevation Worship

I have decided to follow Jesus
I have decided to follow Jesus
I have decided to follow Jesus
No turning back, no turning back

Though none go with me, I still will follow
Though none go with me, I still will follow
Though none go with me, I still will follow
No turning back, no turning back

Everything all I am
And all I have to bring
I will give to you my everything

I will follow, my heart surrendered
My Jesus I am yours
I will follow, my life in your hands
My Jesus I am yours

Read the whole story about Olivia Temporal’s Unconventional Calling:

Would You Leave Everything to Follow Jesus?

Cost of Discipleship, Anawangin beach, sunset, boat, uncontainablemusings.com, uncontainablemusings, unconventional calling, leaving everything behind

“Would you leave everything for Jesus?”

I was excited to begin God’s task for me. I woke up early and thought of my schedule for the day as I prepared my breakfast. I had organized the previous night things I needed to research, study and plan.

But the Lord wasn’t done speaking. He brought to my mind people in our local church who left their profession to serve in full-time ministry. Then there were the apostles who also left their profession to follow Jesus and became fishers of men.

As I pondered on their example, Jesus lovingly asked, “Will you really leave everything behind for Me?”

For the past years, He has been preparing me to leave one possession at a time. And now only one thing is left.

I went back to my room and read the calling of the first disciples.

“Follow Me, I will make you fishers of men.”

In John 1:35-51, we see the early encounters of Jesus with a few of the apostles. The accounts of Matthew, Mark, and Luke when Jesus called them to full-time ministry are similar. I focused my study on Luke because it has more detail.

Luke 5:1-11

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God.He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken,10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

  • One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God.

The Lake of Gennesaret is also known as the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 4:18), and the Sea of Tiberias (John 6:1). It’s a large, freshwater lake about 13 miles long and 7 miles wide, and about 690 ft. below sea level, making it the lowest body of freshwater on earth. It was home to a thriving fishing industry. Many events in Jesus’ earthly life and ministry took place in the region of Galilee and areas surrounding the Sea of Galilee.

At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in Luke 4, He returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about him spread through the whole countryside. He taught in their synagogues, cast out evil spirits and healed many. Everyone was amazed by His authority and power.

So it wasn’t the first time people heard Him preach about the Kingdom of God. And it wasn’t the first time for the apostles either. Jesus’ early encounters with Andrew, Simon Peter, Philip, and Nathanael was recorded in John 1:35-51. Then we see in Luke 4:38-39, Jesus went to the home of Simon (who is also Peter) where he healed Simon’s mother-in-law who was suffering from a high fever. They called Jesus as Teacher and were still getting to know more about Him.

  • Jesus saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets. To keep the people from crowding Him, He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then He sat down and taught the people from the boat. He did the same in Matthew 13:2Mark 3:94:1.

Much of their fishing was done at night (John 21:3). Then at daytime, they would work on their equipment, mend and wash their nets to prepare them the following night. So this event happened in the morning after a night of fishing.

  • When Jesus had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

These experienced fishermen, who inherited their occupation from their father, worked hard all night but didn’t catch any fish. Now they were calling it a day and were washing their nets. Then Jesus, a carpenter who may not have any experience in fishing, tells Simon Peter, an experienced fisherman, to set out to fish. To which Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything…” 

If they caught nothing the previous night, which was the best time to fish, then chances of catching anything during the day would even be smaller. There’s no point fishing in the daytime. And there’s no point fishing around that area because they already did everything they could all night and caught nothing. They knew their job, they had been doing it all their life. This didn’t make sense to Simon.

Nevertheless, he continued: “But because you say so, I will let down the nets.” Though it didn’t make sense, Simon obeyed because Jesus said so. He had heard news about Jesus, had encountered Him prior to this, had heard Him preach, had seen His miracle done in his own home, and from Teacher he now calls Him Master. He was seeing and knowing more and more who Jesus is.

  • When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

How small were their boats that they couldn’t hold a large number of fish that they began to sink? And how small and delicate were their fishing nets that they began to break with that large catch?

We have to remember fishing was their trade. In Mark 1:20, Zebedee, the father of James and John, had hired men which indicates that his fishing business was a prosperous one. This also means the size of the boat could hold Zebedee, James, John, their hired men, their fishing equipment plus the fish they’d catch. We can also read throughout the Gospels that there were times Jesus and His 12 apostles were in a boat. That’s at least 13 people plus maybe some crew that runs the boat. So we can conclude that their boats were fairly large.

We also need to consider that fishermen in that area knew what the normal catch would be, what a good catch or even a great catch would be. And they had designed usually capable nets and boats that would be able to handle the amount of catch they’d get in the Sea of Galilee.

And when they had done what Jesus told them to do, an incredible result happened: they enclosed an enormous quantity of fish that the nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help, then they filled both boats so full that they began to sink. The catch was so massive that it literally went beyond anything they had ever anticipated because their nets couldn’t contain it and their boats couldn’t hold it.

  • When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

This was beyond anything they had ever experienced! There was no other explanation except that it was an expression of divine power.

Notice Peter’s response. First, he fell at Jesus’ knees and called Him Lord. He knew now that Jesus is God. Second, understanding that truth led him to recognize his sinfulness. When we see God for who He is (holy) we see ourselves for who we are (sinful).

When we see God for who He is (holy) we see ourselves for who we are (sinful).

Why did Peter say: “Go away from me, Lord?” Jesus’ reply to him: “Don’t be afraid” tells us that Peter was terrified. He knew he was a sinful man standing before the holy God. He was afraid for his life. It was the terror of being in the presence of the holy God and being on the brink of divine judgment.

God is holy. Holy means separation from everything that is sinful. God is without sin and is separate from sin. When man sinned against God we became separated from God. All of us have sinned; whether minor or grave sin, the point is we have sinned.

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. (Romans 3:10-12)

The wages (fitting compensation) of sin is death. This death refers to spiritual death which means when we die we would be forever separated from God and forever experience His judgment against our sins. What would become of us then? We either be forever separated from God or someone who is without sin sacrifice himself as substitute for us.

And that’s exactly what God did! Because of His great love for us, He made a way. He whom we have offended made a way. God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, lived a holy life and sacrificed Himself as payment for our sins that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Through God’s grace, we can be made holy and be reconciled back to God not because of ourselves but because of Jesus’ holiness. When we repent of our sins and turn to Jesus we can be saved. This is the Jesus that Simon Peter and the other apostles were talking to: Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah. God Himself in human flesh calling them to follow Him.

  • Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.”

In the terror of this moment, Peter wants to send the Lord away, but the Lord wants to pull Peter closer. At the very point at which the sinner feels the most alienation is the point at which the Savior is seeking reconciliation. And here was Peter and his two buddies, James and John, wanting to run when Jesus wanted to embrace them, wanting alienation when Jesus sought reconciliation.  This is the glorious moment of their repentance. Jesus showed His divine mercy and love. –MacArthur, John. Sermon: “Characteristics of Jesus’ Divinity, Part 2”. Grace To You.

This also shows evangelism was the primary purpose for which Jesus called the apostles, and it remains the central mission for His people (Matthew 28:19-20Acts 1:8). Jesus sacrificed Himself on the cross to save us from our sins and reconcile us back to God. Those who have been reconciled to God through Christ have been given this task of reconciling people to Him. So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” (2 Corinthians 5:18-21)

  • So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

It should’ve been enough that He spoke and it was the voice of God. It should’ve been enough for them to know who Jesus is with His teachings and miraculous signs but He did more. After He finished His message, He wanted to demonstrate who He is. He wanted Simon Peter, James and John to come to the full understanding of who He is. Because it was time to bring Peter to full commitment. It was time to call them to full commitment.

Following Jesus means making Him our top priority, it means giving our full commitment and devotion, it means loving Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Following Jesus may require us to leave everything just like what He required the apostles to which they wholeheartedly and joyfully obeyed.

“Because You say so, I will.”

In the same way that Jesus’ instruction to Peter didn’t make sense, Jesus instruction to me also doesn’t make any sense: leave my job to pursue work without income for Jesus. So how on earth can I provide for myself? It’s ridiculous! Unreasonable. Yes, but only to shortsighted people like me.

And that’s the beauty of it! God’s power displayed in the seemingly absurd circumstance. Not blind faith but faith anchored on His promises and affirmations from the Bible. This clarity yet absurdity of God’s leading makes me more excited to witness what He is doing, to be in awe of His power and glory, to see more of His work, and to know Him more and more.

If you’ve read all the previous posts about this “Unconventional Calling”  series, you may have noticed that it only revolved around my previous jobs, family, and writing for God. For an absurd instruction such as this, I asked the Lord to affirm me many times so I can stand firm on His Word and not be swayed by worldly perspective, or be shaken by opposition, difficulty, discouragement or whatever circumstance I may find myself in. This 6-part story series is evidence of God’s faithfulness in answering that prayer. He gave me more than enough affirmations so I can be resolute and not be moved, so I can be fixed on His promises and continue on this path He prepared for me.

It should’ve been enough that Jesus spoke and clarified His leading to me. It should’ve been enough for Him to realign my priorities. It should’ve been enough that He taught me the cost of following Him and the things I needed to give up. These should’ve been enough for me to understand, respond in obedience and stand firm. But He did more. After He finished teaching, He wanted to demonstrate His intimate love for me.

The calling of the first disciples has become an intimate and special message of God for me. It was as if Jesus was telling me those same words He told the apostles:

  • “Will you really leave everything behind for Me?”
  • “It was time to bring (Olivia) to full commitment.”
  • “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men.”
  • “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed Jesus.

“Is this the calling?” I laughed asking both myself and the Lord.

By calling I mean the call to ministry. I thought only pastors and missionaries are called to ministry or maybe also those working full-time in a local church. And I’m certain I’m not meant for any of those. So it never occurred to me that Jesus would call me this way.

I remember the first time I volunteered in a ministry, I only wanted to help in any way I can. Then a few years later, God placed in my heart to pray for this: to be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work (2 Timothy 2:21).

I only want to be useful for the Lord. But I never thought He would commission me this way. Why would He call someone like me?

“Father, this mandate is for every believer. I shouldn’t even be reminded of it because it’s expected. But who am I that You would call me to Yourself, intimately speak to me, and personally commission me to proclaim the Gospel just like You did with the apostles? It’s not like a king would personally seek out a beggar to appoint him regarding a public edict. But You did. How intimate can You be? How unfathomable is Your love? Who am I, Lord, that You would call me into ministry this way? I don’t know what to say to You. I’m unworthy to serve You. I’m unworthy to have You. I’m unworthy to even stand before Your presence. But even in my unworthiness, who am I to resist Your call? What else can I say to You? Yes, I will leave everything behind for You because, in reality, I don’t have anything or anyone but You.”

“Come, follow Me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19)

Read more about Olivia Temporal’s Unconventional Calling:

The High Cost of Following Jesus

Counting the Cost of Discipleship

The Cost of Following Jesus

The Lord clearly instructed and affirmed me to proclaim His work in my life through blogging. But when I prioritized my physical needs over the work He wanted me to do, He revealed my heart’s response:

“Yes, Lord, I’ll do what your told me. 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 find three people who wished to follow Jesus but in the end went away because of the high cost of discipleship.

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 three people teaches us the high cost of following Him.

1. Giving Up Personal 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 specifies 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. Giving Up Personal and Worldly 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 only of 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 our earthly duties over God’s calling for us? Would you choose what is good in exchange for what is best?

3. Giving Undivided Devotion to Jesus

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 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, our complete undivided 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 pursue and achieve career 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, which is a result from being unable to help them financially
  • It means separating myself from the responsibility I’ve always enjoyed doing and instead enabling me to completely focus on God’s call for me

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 no longer has 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 providing for them?”

Because this is God’s way of detaching me from my family, reminding me not to worry for them and enabling me to focus on His call for me. I cannot put my hand to the plow and look back.

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 Olivia Temporal’s “Unconventional Calling”.

Responding to the Most Important and Urgent Need

Revelation 22:20, uncontainablemusings.com

Isn’t Life More than Food?

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?”

God replied the following day during my time with Him:

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.

Jesus said in Matthew 6:25-34: “Look at the birds; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them… Are you not much more valuable than they? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin… Will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

This is a well known Bible verse. Yet we often find ourselves worried of our physical needs, concerned only of the physical world.

Is not life more than food?

Having my basic needs secured, I was more concerned of my secondary needs.

But how about the spiritual needs of others? Is not the soul more important than the body which will eventually turn to dust? 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? Isn’t life more than the needs of the body?

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 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? Should I set aside the Gospel and consider it secondary over my job? Did God ever lack provision for me and my family that I would choose to distrust Him and disobey His commands?!

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.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

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. So it’s more than knowing the time; it means seeing with our eyes to make us aware and understand so as to take full advantage of the opportune 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? 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 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 take advantage of these opportunities to spread the Gospel.

Though many question the wisdom and even Biblicality of my decision to leave my online jobs 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 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)

Read more about Olivia Temporal’s Unconventional Calling:

Work for Food that Doesn’t Spoil

John 6:27, rice field, uncontainablemusings.com

Seeing Only Perishable Food

Managing a blog isn’t 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. Nevertheless, I was excited and determined to learn both tasks 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.

My mindset was: my job is where I get my provisions, therefore it 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 with my new job. Yet all the while my heart yearned to write and tell the whole world the glory of my God.

Weeks turned into months and I kept sensing something was wrong. I prioritized my job and God showed me it was indeed prime. I start my day hours before dawn because of timezone difference and by the time I finish all the teaching and writing, I was already mentally and physically drained. Whatever’s left to my time and energy is what I bring to God when I spend time with Him.

I reflected on my motives, goals, social expectations, and intention of well-meaning friends. Only then did I distinguish which is from God 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 Bible is clear; the modifier is not Christian but “godly and wise”.

I’ve often heard and thought that: wise, godly and Christian are synonymous terms. But they aren’t. Godly advice may come from godly and discerning Christians but it doesn’t necessarily follow that all counsel from believers are godly and wise. God alone is infallible and the only source of true wisdom.

Therefore, “wise and godly” advise in Proverbs meant God’s wisdom and counsel found in the Bible. God has said many times to depend on God’s counsel not human counsel.

For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. (Proverbs 2:6)

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…” (emphasis added)

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.

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5)

Understanding Spiritual 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 motive of both my decision and the advice to me was to have provision or “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.

Jesus reminded me of 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. God blessed our family because of their hard work and perseverance.

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. When we moved in our apartment, I got too excited in buying our needs that all my card installments accumulated and I couldn’t pay the balance. I got worried because I didn’t want to incur any 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 God 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, ministries, and the opportunity to attend equipping classes which I wouldn’t be able to take advantage of if I wasn’t in that short time of waiting. In the end, I realized it was exactly what God wanted 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.

Man does not live on bread alone

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-reliance and learn dependence on Him in everything.

Jesus’ questions echoed: “Do you still not understand? 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?”

“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. (Matthew 16:11-12)

The disciples understood only when Jesus clarified 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 food that gives life to the soul.” This is the work God was telling me to prioritize all along.

It is written: Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4)

Perceiving Food That Gives Life

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,’  Ὁρᾶτε in 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 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 night, 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. ❤️

Read more about Olivia Temporal’s Unconventional Calling: