Give Your Soul a Rest — Forgive and Forget

What does the Bible say about forgiving others

One of the things that many people find difficult to do is to forgive, especially, if the person who offended them does not manifest any sign of remorse or does not even bother to go out of his or her way to say “sorry” for the wrongdoing committed. 


For many, forgiveness may only be given to someone who acknowledges one’s sin and apologizes for it. But if that person does not apologize, then, there is no way that that person will be forgiven.

However, this should not be the attitude of a real Christian. A real Christian always grants forgiveness to a person who erred against him or her, even if that person did not say the magic word — “sorry”.

Usually, people get hurt if the offense is committed by their loved ones, or by those whom they highly esteem, like their spouses, children, grandchildren, siblings, relatives, and friends.

Hence, it is all the more very un-Christian if you continue to harbor ill feelings towards them simply because they do not approach you to ask for your forgiveness. If you truly love them, you do not have to wait for the time that they will fall on their knees and say “sorry” to you before you forgive them.

With or without the “sorry,” you should have a ready forgiveness for them because you love them. As a song says, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

Actually, even if the ones who did you wrong are just your ordinary acquaintances, like a neighbor, a classmate, or an officemate, you should always be ready to forgive. And having this attitude will surely work in your favor.

God commanded us to forgive those who sin against us. So, in forgiving our offenders, we are actually showing God our obedience to Him. All of us commit sins; we all err, wittingly or unwittingly — and we also want to be forgiven by those whom we have offended, or sinned against, including God.

The truth is, each time we ask God to forgive our trespasses, we are also obliged to forgive the trespasses that others committed unto us.

Matthew 6:12 (KJV) says,

And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

In forgiving those who erred against you, you will also be forgiven by God from all your shortcomings and transgressions. Apparently, it is a must that you forgive for you to be forgiven.

As it is written in Matthew 6:14 (KJV),

For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

If you readily forgive those who offended you, even without an apology coming from them, you will merit God’s forgiveness. This is aside from the emotional relief that you will experience. Because in forgiving others and in forgetting the offense that they have done unto you, you will be freeing your heart of a heavy load and you will have peace deep within you. Let’s face it, you do not feel good when you are at odds with another.

But if you will let your personal pride prevail, if you will refuse to forgive simply because the person who erred against you has not said “sorry” to you yet, you are, in effect, disobeying God’s commandment. And your disobedience to God has its inevitable consequences.

As it is written in Matthew 6:15 (KJV),

But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Plain and simple. The Father will forgive your trespasses if you forgive those who have hurt you or those who have done you wrong. But if you do not want to forgive them, then, the Father will not forgive you either.

I just hope that you realize the significance of meriting and not meriting the Father’s forgiveness. To merit the Father’s forgiveness means to merit eternal bliss in paradise; but to not be forgiven by the Father because you refused to forgive others means to be doomed in eternal punishment in hell. The choice is yours to make. But surely, real Christians will always choose to be forgiving.

May God bless us all!

Why Others Lose Their Trust in God

Why People Lose Their Trust in God

If there is one Being in whom all of us should trust, it is no other than God — not our fellow man.

Jeremiah 17:5,7 (KJV) says,

5 Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. 
7 Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.

The Bible says, blessed is the man whose trust and hope are in the Lord, and cursed be the man whose trust is given to another man. Very clearly, it is more prudent to give our full trust in the Almighty God than in man. For one, you cannot always count on a fellow human being — even if that person happens to be very close to you or if that person happens to be your best friend — because just like you, your fellow man also has certain frailties and vulnerabilities. 

Sometimes, the very people whom you value and consider as trusted friends are also the ones who will betray you. Actually, the Lord Jesus Christ experienced treachery or betrayal from someone whom He considered a friend — Judas Iscariot. 

As it is written in Psalm 41:9 (KJV),

Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.

The Lord Jesus Christ was a loving and selfless friend, such that He even gave the piece of bread that was already meant for Him to Judas Iscariot. Despite that, Judas still betrayed the Lord.

This thing really happens as there is always the possibility that the person to whom you have given your trust will turn against you. But this will not happen with God — He will never betray those who put their trust in Him. That is why the Bible calls those who have trust in God “blessed” because He is trustworthy.

We can say that the people who do not trust God do not really know Him — they do not know His ways; they do not know His will; they do not know what Hewants them to do. If they do, they will surely trust Him and His words, and they will continue to hold onto His pronouncements and promises — for God is true to His words and He fulfills His every promise.

One of the admonitions that carries with it a very reassuring promise from God is written in Hebrews 13:5 (KJV) which says,

Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. 

Instead of complaining and coveting what others have, God wants us to be content with what we have. And when we obey what God wants us to do, we will experience the fulfillment of His promise: “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” 

When God told us not to be covetous and to be content with what we have, He was, in effect, teaching us not to steal and not to cheat but to instead labor in order to earn honest money. This is exactly what I practice in my life. 

Even before I started in the ministry, I was already working to earn for my personal needs and for the needs of my loved ones. Until now that I am already leading an international religious organization, I am still working hard to earn in an honest and decent manner. Unlike other preachers, I never make the word of God a commodity, and I never make religion a kind of business. I do not covet the riches of other people, and I do not employ deceit in everything that I do. In other words, I live my life in accordance with the will of God. 

Now I am already 74 years old, yet, I do not remember any instance in my life wherein I lacked or hungered — proof that God really does not leave nor forsake those who abide by His teachings. 

The point that I am trying to drive at is this: It is our obedience to God that gives us the chance to experience Him in our lives — that He will not leave us nor forsake us. And as you experience this, the more that you will have trust in God. 

1 John 5:14 (KJV) says, 

And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 

We are confident that God will listen to us if we ask Him of things which are in accordance with His will. And He will listen to us if we are fulfilling His commandments, His counsels, and His teachings. So, if you hear people say that they have lost their trust in God because He does not listen to their prayers, it only means one thing: They are disobedient to God.  

Always remember, God does not forsake those who are obedient to Him, and He will not allow them to lose their trust in Him.

What Not to Love in the World to Gain the Love of God

What should we not love in this world

1 John 2:15 (KJV) gives a specific admonition to Christians, one that is often misconstrued by those who take the verse literally. It says, 

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

They ask, “How could they possibly not love the world when they are in the world and all the people dear to them are also in the world?”

Apparently, that is not what the verse is referring to. Indeed, we have to love our parents and the other members of our families, our friends, our fellowmen, and even our enemies. But there are specific things in the world that we are prohibited from loving, and loving them would mean that the love of the Father is not in us. What are those?

1 John 2:16 (KJV) says,

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

John pointed out three things in the world that we should not love because they are not from the Father. They are the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.

In other words, we should not succumb to the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes, like watching pornographic videos, reading pornographic materials, peeping in holes and crevices of someone else’s bedroom and bathroom, indulging in sensuality and lasciviousness, and making sexual advances on someone who isn’t our spouse. These are among the things in the world that we should not love as they are not of the Father.

Like the lust of the flesh and lust of the eyes, the pride of life also did not come from the Father, and therefore, we should not love it either. However, today, we see lots of people who take pride of their lives, of their status in society, of their riches and power, and of their connections with influential people.

They talk of nothing but self-conceit and vainglory. They regard themselves as the best and the most superior of all, that is why, they do not accept suggestions and instructions from others anymore — no matter how good the suggestions are, especially so if they come from their rivals.

This is very common among politicians and government officials. Instead of being supportive of and cooperative with one other, we often see them bickering, if not objecting and questioning certain projects and decisions, not for their demerits, but simply because they come from somebody who belongs to a rival political party. No wonder why there is unrest and divisiveness in many nations nowadays.

If they did not come from the Father, from whom did these things in the world come?

James 3:16, 15 (KJV) says,

16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. 
15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.

They came from the devil. Actually, we can make a sweeping generalization that all the foolish things on earth — like the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, drugs, pornography, prostitution, greed of power — all of them come from the devil. That is why Christians are prohibited from loving them.

But never are we prohibited from loving our parents, siblings, children, friends, and fellowmen, even our enemies. In fact, Christians are commanded to love them. But of course, above all else, we should love God.

The Sad and Sorry Reason Why Some Believe Christ Isn't God

Christ is God not human

Is there any truth to the claim of the Iglesia ni Cristo of Manalo (INCM) that the Lord Jesus Christ is no more than just a human being? First, let us consider what the Apostle John said about Him.

1 John 5:20-21 (KJV) says,

20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. 

21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

This particular verse is one of the many verses being muddled by the ministers of the INCM to make their claim appear to be valid: that the Lord Jesus Christ is not a God, but only a man. They are trying to make it appear that the true God being mentioned in verse 20 is the Father.

However, if we are going to analyze it more deeply, the true God and eternal life being referred to is someone who came here on earth, someone who gave them — the apostles — understanding. These would not apply to the Father because He had not come here physically. Undoubtedly, it refers to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is “the true God, and eternal life.”

Why give the admonition “keep yourselves from idols” in verse 21? It is because here on earth, there are many idols or false gods. But the One who came here, the One who had given them understanding, according to the apostles, is the true God and eternal life. And that was the Lord Jesus Christ. Take note that “true God” had been introduced by the definite article “the” — “the true God, and eternal life” — denoting specificity.


To further prove that the “eternal life” was the Lord Jesus Christ, 1 John 1:1-2 (KJV) says,

1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 

2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)

The “eternal life” was with the Father, and it was manifested unto the apostles because it came here. Very clearly, it refers to the Lord Jesus Christ. This is one biblical truth that the ministers of the INCM cannot erase nor remove from the Bible.

Now, when Christ came here on earth, this is what the Father told Him:

Hebrews 1:8 (KJV) says,

But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.

Again, this verse is also being twisted by the ministers of INCM. In their intention to reduce the Lord Jesus Christ to the status of an ordinary human, they changed “Thy throne, O God,” to “Thy throne, is God,” resulting in an idea that is very demeaning to God. They have brought God to a much, much lower status; they have made Him a throne that can be sat on. Isn’t that preposterous?

In the earlier cited verse, the Father was the one speaking, and He called His Son as God. Are you going to question the Father’s declaration? That is the truth. The Lord Jesus Christ is God because He is the Son of God. He came from the bosom of the Father; the Father begat Him. This truth is something that INCM ministers find hard to accept — that the Father brought forth the only begotten God. But their refusal would not change the truth: that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only begotten God. As inscribed in Greek manuscripts, He is monogenes theos.

Actually, even if there are many evidences that prove the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ, even if the apostles themselves had testified that, “This is the true God, and eternal life,” and even if the Father, “...unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever,” I doubt if those INCM ministers would let go of their over-a-century-old belief that the Lord Jesus Christ is only a human being.

We cannot do anything about it. It is indeed inevitable that there are really people who would not acknowledge Christ’s divinity, not for any valid and biblical reason, but simply out of sheer stubbornness and obstinacy. But where will their stubbornness and obstinacy bring them? Where else but to perdition!

Dispelling Claims Regarding the Return of Christ With Common Sense and Simple Logic


The return of Christ

The Iglesia ni Cristo of Manalo is one of the religions that believe that when the Lord Jesus Christ returns, the earth will already be burned. In fact, in one of their television broadcasts, Michael Sandoval, a minister of the INC of Manalo, blabbered that the one thousand-year reign of Christ on earth — which became the topic of many of our congregational gatherings — is highly impossible to happen because according to him, when the Lord Jesus Christ returns, this earth will already be burned and destroyed. And since it will already be destroyed, there will be nowhere for Christ to reign over anymore.


Apparently, he was trying to contest what I was teaching to our brethren in the Church of God International, something which I based on the book of Revelation, which says that when Christ returns, He will resurrect those who died in Him and they, together with His faithful servants, shall reign with Him on earth for one thousand years (Revelation 20:5-6). I wonder why he is opposing something that is clearly written in the Bible.

It is evident that his opposition to what I said was prompted by his ignorance of biblical mysteries and prophetic pronouncements which we in the Church of God International, happen to know and understand despite our lowly status — not through our own efforts but through the divine guidance of the Holy Spirit.

It is not true that the earth will already be destroyed or burned, when the Lord Jesus Christ returns. Although we do not deny the fact that this thing is bound to happen, but it will not take place upon Christ’s return. According to the Bible, when the Lord Jesus Christ returns, He, together with His saints who will be made priests, shall reign over the earth for a millennium. So, the earth remains to be in existence. And given the span of one thousand years, we can expect that the Gospel of salvation can be preached all over the world unhampered because, throughout that period, Satan will be incarcerated. However, after the one thousand-year period, he will be loosed out of his prison.

REVELATION 20:7-8 (KJV) says,

7 And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, 
8 And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.

At the completion of the one thousand years, when Satan has been freed from his prison, knowing that he has very limited time, he would work doubly hard in deceiving nations in the four corners of the world. Just think about it — how can Satan traverse the four corners of the earth if this earth is no more? Aside from that, there will still be an Armageddon that is going to take place. Again, how can this final battle happen if, upon the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, this earth will already be destroyed? Do you see the folly of Michael Sandoval and the absurdity of his statements?

Actually, it only requires simple logic and a little common sense to understand that when the Lord Jesus Christ returns, this earth will not be burned yet because He will still reign over it for one thousand years.

Apparently, the ministers of the INC of Manalo, especially Michael Sandoval, lack both logic and common sense. If they have them, their statements should not have contradicted what the Bible says, and they should not have displayed their ignorance and senselessness on national television. Their line of reasoning only proves that they do not have any idea about the forthcoming millennial reign of the Lord Jesus Christ and His saints here on earth.

But I couldn’t fully blame them because, surely, their mentors did not teach them anything about the book of Revelation — probably because they, too, did not understand this particular book of the Bible. That is very pathetic! The very least that the INCM ministers can do is to be humble enough to admit their ignorance, instead of bragging and pretending to be knowledgeable about biblical truths such as prophetic pronouncements. Actually, the more they brag and pretend, the more obvious it becomes that they are void of understanding. The very words that come out of their mouths are the ones that betray them. And we are truly sorry for them, most especially for their brethren in faith, whom they are leading to perdition. May God have mercy on these people.

What to Expect During the Millennial Reign of Christ

Christ’s Return and His Millennial Reign
 
Do not believe any preacher or any religion that would say that the return of the Lord Jesus Christ already marks the day of judgment and the destruction of the earth. There is no truth to that. Yes, the Lord Jesus Christ will return, but not to judge mankind and destroy the earth right away, as there is another appointed time to carry out those things. 

When the Lord Jesus Christ returns, He will resurrect, not all the dead but only those who died in Him. This is called the first resurrection. And then, those whom He resurrected and His faithful servants who are still alive during that time will be caught up in the clouds to meet Him in the air. As it is written in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (KJV), 

16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 

Those who will be included in the first resurrection are considered blessed because the second death has no power over them anymore. They shall be made priests, and together with Christ, they shall reign on earth for one thousand years. 

REVELATION 20:5-6 (KJV) 

But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. 

In other words, there are two resurrections of the dead that are going to happen. The first resurrection is exclusive for those who have died in Christ, and this will happen upon the return of the Lord Jesus Christ; while the second resurrection is inclusive of all the dead that are not included in the first resurrection, and it is going to happen after the one thousand-year period. So, there is a gap of one thousand years between the first and the second resurrection of the dead. 

When all the dead have risen, that will be the time when the Lord Jesus Christ shall judge both the living and the dead. The Bible referred to Christ as the judge of both the living and the dead. 

1 PETER 4:5 (KJV) 

Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. 

Another verse that proves that the Lord Jesus Christ shall judge both the living and the dead is 2 Timothy 4:1 (KJV), which says, 

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 

There will come a time when the Lord Jesus Christ shall appear and the glory of His kingdom shall be revealed. But it will not be until after the one thousand years, when He shall be passing judgment on both the living and the dead who have risen during the second resurrection. 

Actually, John, to whom these revelations were given, had a glimpse of judgment day; he even saw how the devil was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. 

REVELATION 20:10 (KJV) 

And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever. 

After which, John also saw a great white throne, and before the throne of God stood all the dead who have been resurrected to face judgment. 

REVELATION 20:11-12 (KJV) 

11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 

So, it is clear now that the return of the Lord Jesus Christ does not mark the day of judgment nor the destruction of the earth — as these things are going to happen after His reign on earth for a thousand years. It has to be understood that the return of the Lord Jesus Christ only marks the commencement of His millennial reign on earth. 

With the Lord Jesus Christ reigning over all those who are on earth, we can just imagine the kind of justice, righteousness, and holiness that will prevail everywhere. We can also expect that with Christ reigning, more and more people will be converted, which means that more and more people will be given the chance to salvation. 



Healing: Fake or Real?

How to attain real healing from God

The Bible mentions diverse spiritual gifts to the Church, and one of them is the gift of healing (1 Corinthians 12:4,9). In fact, the first century Christian Church became a recipient of this gift, which is why there were apostles and members of the Church back then who became instruments in healing people with physical infirmities. And until the present time, God’s gift of healing continues to be enjoyed by His people. 

Sometimes, healing happens not because of any human intervention but because of fervent prayers. For one, God offers healing to those who fervently pray for it. I personally know of some brethren in the Church who had been diagnosed with illnesses which were already in their terminal stages, while others were with contagious diseases. But through our fervent prayers to the Almighty God, these people were able to live beyond the limit that the doctors had set upon them. There were also those who, because of financial constraints, had refused to undergo surgery and they just opted to be discharged from the hospital, but also through sincere prayers and supplications, God added several more years to their lives.

In the Church of God International, whenever we suffer from any ailment or illness, the first measure that we take is to kneel down, pray, and ask for God’s mercy and intervention. We do not perform any ceremony or ritual. We do not recite any incantation. We simply pray fervently. It is our faith that God can do more than what the best medical specialists can do — and that He can do what the best of doctors cannot.

Many preachers today brag that they have the gift of healing — that by simply laying their hands on the sick, those who are ill will surely get well. Of course, that is a preposterous claim. It is so easy to claim that they have the gift of healing, but proving it is something that they have failed to do. 

Actually, I have seen a video of one shameless preacher who was supposedly performing a healing ritual. But instead of laying his hand on the sick woman, he laid his foot on her. It became apparent that delivering an “honest to goodness” healing was not really his paramount concern; he was more interested in taking advantage of the sick woman who was desperate to get healed. He was capitalizing on his position as a preacher and his self-proclaimed gift of healing in doing acts of lasciviousness and lewdness, as shown in the video.


The woman in the video was actually suffering from an ovarian disease. But what did the pastor do? Using his foot, he was touching the woman’s genital; he was practically sexually assaulting her. The Bible did not speak of any healing method similar to what this stupid pastor employed. It was a gross display of lust and sensuality, and without any doubt, that man is not of God, but of Satan.

We, in the Church of God International, neither perform such foolishness nor do we claim that we can heal people of all their illnesses by just laying our hands on them. We pray to God for His healing because we sincerely believe that it is God who heals, and our belief is anchored on what He said in Exodus 15:26 (KJV), “... for I am the LORD that healeth thee.” We are always counting on His pronouncements and on His abundant mercy.

Indeed, there is a gift of healing given to the Church. There are really some members of the Church who have been bestowed with this gift, like, for example, our brothers and sisters who work as doctors, nurses, and medical massage therapists. As massage therapists, they could heal swellings, rehabilitate sports injuries, relieve muscle tension and stiffness, and provide ease and comfort to those in pain — not by laying hands on them — but by applying varying degrees of pressure on the affected part of the body or by rubbing and stroking such areas using their hands. So, in their own small way, they are able to provide healing, too. 

But as to whether a person was healed because of prayers or because of the intervention of a healthcare professional, our belief is that God and the Lord Jesus Christ are the ones who truly heal. Those who have the gift of healing are just being used by the Father and Christ to be their instruments in healing people. In reality, it is the healing power of God and the Lord Jesus Christ that works wonders. The bottom line is, God and the Lord Jesus Christ are our healers.