Archive for the ‘Life Revised’ Category

A life revised conversation with Author, Ardy Roberto

Known as an in-demand speaker, award winning entrepreneur and best-selling author, Ardy Roberto shares how he was once a self-focused businessman until God humbled him and changed his life.

Q:  What was life like before knowing Jesus?

Ardy: Before my late wife, Tingting, led me to Christ through her prayers and her bringing me to a Bible study where the good news was shared, I was a confused, ambitious person who did not think twice about lying and deceiving people for gain. I hid under a mask of supposed gentlemanliness and kindness but I embraced the philosophy that it was okay to cheat on or have multiple relationships and affairs as long as you didn’t get caught or as long as it didn’t hurt anyone. I bought into the lifestyle that the “head deceiver” wanted me to buy into: worldliness and “what’s-in-it-for-me”?

Q:  What was your turning point?

Ardy: My wife, who was then my fiancee, told me that she was going to a Bible study. At that time, I was depressed about a major business failure. But right before she walked through the door of my flat and said that she was leaving (for the bible study), I had prayed to the Lord in desperation: “God, if you’re real–please lift up and take out this heavy burden on my chest.” And just like that — like a gust of wind lifting up a kite — the burden was lifted and gone! And then Tingting walked in, as if on cue, and “invited” me to the Bible study. I told her I would go with her and at that Bible study, God’s words and promise became alive. I prayed to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior and then the miracles of change started to happen.

Ardy RobertoQ:  How has knowing Christ changed you?

Ardy: Like a caterpillar becoming a butterfly. A total transformation of the heart. I could not swear or cuss, or lie. That was the immediate change. Then I started having the power to obey and have faith in God’s promises. My life has been a blessed one. And even if my beloved wife, my Swato (SWeet PotaTO) passed away recently last January 5th, the grace of God has been enough to sustain me. I’ve been grieving, but I see God grieving with me as I weep. I am moving from mourning to dancing, from grief to joy, and the Lord is there with me and my Joshy Boy (now 5 yrs old) every step of the way.

 

 

The Risen Lord changed history and He can also change your story. Join the life revised conversations on Facebook: omfliterature and Twitter: @omflit this Lent.

Has the Lord transformed your life? Share your life revised story with us at digital@omflit.com

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Ru dela Torre was the cool guy who had everything – women, money, success. But one day, he lost everything. In this one-on-one interview, Ru dela Torre recalls his journey to true significance and how he found his greatest need in Jesus.

Q: What was life like before knowing Jesus?

Ru: I used to live life according to the world’s standards. I was consumed with what our culture dictated as the normal life. I used to believe that one’s goal in life was simply to:

  • Excel in school. Graduate with honors. Get good grades and have a better shot at landing a job in the future.
  • Have girlfriends in order to get “in” the boys’ club. The “more the merrier” meant me getting the thumbs up sign from my best buds.
  • Have a car. Have a house. Get a wife. Have kids. Have grandchildren. Then die.

And I was well on my way to becoming all these.  I thought I was the luckiest guy in the world because I had the following at age 24: 23 ex girlfriends, 1 hottie girlfriend, a cum laude medal from the University of Santo Tomas and a silver medal from Ateneo de Manila for my Master’s Degree in Business Administration, 1 super black sporty car, 1 fat bank account, 1 thriving business and a good paying job. And an ego as huge as the Titanic.

But all of these were not enough. I was constantly looking for the next high. I was unsatisfied . . . unfulfilled. I was bored.

 

Ru dela TorreQ: How did things change?

Ru: In January 2004, I lost my business, my job and my girlfriend in three consecutive weeks. I was shattered. I was lost . . . depressed. I didn’t know what to do. From lucky, I became a loser. Until I found Christ. When I saw what Christ did for me at the cross, I realized His great love for me. This love made me understand that Jesus is worth my all. He gave His best first. He loved first. And I wanted to give him my life too. So that day, I surrendered and gave my life to Him.

I found a new identity. From loser, I came to know that I am loved by God.

 

Q: How has knowing Christ altered your life?

Ru: From a self-centered, egocentric life, I prayed to God for a God-centered, purpose-driven life. I wanted to use my talents, my resources, my gifts and my life to serve and glorify him. That’s why I sought for a lot of grace to obey and honor Him.

In February 2004, just a-month-old Christian, God asked me to share to some 40 young people about my decision to seek God with all I’ve got that year. I opted to abstain from having a girlfriend and I signed a contract called the Manifesto with God. That day, 90% of the crowd signed too.

In 2006 it evolved into a movement, as churches and schools started inviting us to share with them this wonderful contract. In 2007, we were able to reach (by God’s grace) some 12,000 young people. This paved the way for us to be hailed as a national finalist to the 2007 TAYO (Ten Outstanding Youth Organizations).

Today, the movement lives on. And thousands more are making the commitment to stay pure and put God first in their lives. An estimated 500,000 young people all across the nation have heard about the movement, and a good percentage of them signed up for the covenant.

I became a youth pastor in 2005 and the Lord also used me to write books. I’ve written four books: A Date with The One, Road Trip, Back on Track and Refuel.

Now, I’m living my best life. Truly, I found life when I found Christ.

 

The Risen Lord changed history and He can also change your story. Join the life revised conversations this Lent on Facebook: omfliterature and Twitter: @omflit using #liferevised.

 

Has the Lord transformed your life? Share your life revised story with us at digital@omflit.com

 

For God says, “At just the right time, I heard you. On the day of salvation, I helped you.” Indeed, the “right time” is now.

Today is the day of salvation.

2 Corinthians 6:2-3 [NLT]

 

One Saturday afternoon, I went to the youth service bringing two big bags. Here are the contents of the bags:

Blue bag – All my clothes for the past week due for washing. One word: laundry. Some were seven days old. It should’ve been brought to the cleaners, but I opted to carry them that day.

Black bag – This one’s my sports bag. It had my clothes for the next day’s worship church service (jeans and long-sleeved polo) plus my basketball uniform and rubber shoes that I was to use in the Sunday afternoon’s ballgame.

While I carried both of them, I felt their weight. The crowd whom I was preaching to was probably thinking I was nuts. I was an eyesore. In their heads, they’re probably asking, “Why’s he bringing his laundry bag and sports bag in preaching?”

I then made my point: What usually gives us unnecessary stress and unwanted heaviness in the NOW are the unwanted baggage of the past and excess luggage of future.

Dwell in the pains of the past, and you become a prisoner of depression. Just like my laundry bag, what’s in the painful past is usually smelly and dirty. And whenever we entrap ourselves in thinking about bad memories of offenses and bitterness, we are not able to nourish what God is doing in the present. God brings good news when He said in Isaiah 43:18-19a (GNT),

 

“Do not cling to events of the past or dwell on what happened long ago. Watch for the new thing I am going to do. It is happening already you can see it now!”

 

A similar principle holds true when we carry the worries of the future today. Just like the stuff in my sports bag, I did not need to bring all of it until tomorrow. And sometimes in life, what pushes us to anxiety are the worries we have about tomorrow. Lord Jesus says we have to learn to live in the NOW when He said,

 

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”

Matthew 6:34 [MSG]

 

Do you know that the word now appears more than 1,200 times in one translation of the Bible? It’s actually enough to remind us three times a day for an entire year that God wants us to enjoy what He is doing in the NOWs of our lives.

 

Jesus, when He taught us to pray the Lord’s Prayer, said, “Give us today our daily bread …”# Notice that He didn’t tell us to ask for tomorrow’s bread or for yesterday’s bread. He instructed us to pray for today’s bread and needs.

There are a lot of things that God is doing in the present. Let go of the bad things of the past and the unnecessary worries of the future and focus on the NOW.

Cherish your relationships today. Seize the godly opportunities to do good that God allows for your life today. Feel at peace knowing that God has given you enough strength to overcome today’s hurdles and He will give you another bucket of strength to do the same for tomorrow’s challenges.

Get rid of the someday syndrome. Drop the laundry bag of the past. Drop the sports bag filled with tomorrows needs. Change for the better now. Start serving God today. Right now is the best time to start pleasing God.

 

ONE ON ONE WITH GOD


Dear Jesus, today I’m choosing to let go of my unwanted baggage. Help me to let go of the pains of the past. And help me, too, to free myself from worrying about what’s gonna happen tomorrow. Instead Lord, teach me to appreciate today and what You are doing now. Guide me so I won’t miss out on the beauty of the present. As I do this, I know You are relieving me from a lot of stress and anxiety. Thank You, Lord. Amen.

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First, you went on a road trip. Along the way, you got lost and had to steer your life back on track. Now your tank is running low on gas. You need a fresh infusion of wisdom and inspiration.

You need to REFUEL

In Ru dela Torre’s 3rd book with OMF Literature, he shares a mix of personal reflections and devotional entries or “reflectio-devos” to energize you while you’re spending quiet times with God

Worship is not optional. In Matthew 4:10, in response to Satan’s temptation, Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 6:13: “You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.” In saying that to Satan, He swept into the command every being ever created. All are responsible to worship God.

The foundation upon which true worship is based its redemption. The supreme objective in the salvation of sinners is an eternal display of the glory of God: “so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7). Worship, of course, not only magnifies God’s glory; it is our only fitting response – “to the praise of the glory of His grace” (Ephesians 1:6). So in the grand scheme of redemption, one of the principal things God is doing is transforming sinners into worshippers.

Jesus said that the Son of man came into the world “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). In John 4 He reveals the purpose for His seeking: “For such people the Father seeks to be His worshippers” (v. 23). The Father sent Christ to seek and save, for the specific purpose of producing worshipping people.

…the supreme motive in our redemption is not for us to receive anything. Rather we have been redeemed so that God may receive worship – so that our lives might glorify Him.

That certainly does not mean there is no blessing in salvation for the believer. There is much. And there is a place for holding on to the hem of His garment and refusing to let go until He blesses us. But such blessings are an additional benefit – not the ultimate purpose. We are to seek to glorify God before we seek to gain anything from Him.

…So a Christian is a worshipper of God. He is not as preoccupied with what he gets as with what he gives. He is not just seeking a blessing. He is offering to God a sacrifice – the sacrifice of sharing, of doing righteously, and of praise. The basis for worship, the key that unlocks the door and makes worship possible and transforms an unacceptable  worshipper into an acceptable worshipper, is salvation.

If you are redeemed and you aren’t now worshipping acceptably, you deny that very thing for which you were redeemed. Face the questions: Do you worship God? Is it a way of life for you? Scripture calls for worship; destiny calls for worship; eternity calls for worship; the angels call for worship. Our Lord commands it.

Are you a true worshipper?

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John McArthur leads you in a clear discovery of Bible passages on whom and how to worship. You will learn that worship is any essential expression of service rendered unto God by a soul who loves and extols Him for who He is. Therefore, real worship should be the full-time, nonstop activity of every believer.

A life revised conversation with Author and Missionary, Andy Smith

andy smith03

Although religious as a child, Andy Smith felt like there was something missing in his life during his teen years. In this one-on-one interview, he recounts his journey towards knowing God in a personal way and how it transformed him from the inside-out. Today, he serves as an OMF International missionary and plants churches in Albay.

Q: What was life like before knowing Jesus?

Andy: I grew up in a large family.  My first goal was to please my parents.  Since they stressed morality and good deeds, I tried to be moral and to help others.  We were faithful members of a certain church.  The message I heard it preach was about earning salvation.  So, it also urged me to be good.

On the surface, I appeared to be very good.  But in my heart, I knew otherwise.  I helped others for my own sake.  I did it so that others would praise me.

In my teen years, I became restless.  Two things shook my foundations.  First, science could not answer life’s biggest questions such as “Where did we come from?” and “What is the purpose of life?”  Second, although people loved me, I hungered to experience a deeper love.

Q: How did things change?

Andy: In my last year of high school, a friend invited me to a Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting.  Thinking I was a Christian and being an athlete, I thought I would fit well in such a group.  I was wrong.  The others knew how to worship God and gain wisdom from the Bible.

After the meeting, I mentioned my observations to my friend.  He replied, “Andy, you know a lot about Jesus, but you don’t know Him.”

I returned home and meditated on his statement.  After several hours, it struck me.  I had considered Jesus just another historical figure.  But if He really is God, then He is alive now and forevermore, and therefore He can be known.  I wept in repentance.  Then I asked God to let me get to know Him through Jesus Christ.

The next day, I went to school.  We had a classmate that everyone avoided.  When I saw her, a love for her filled my heart.  I froze in shock and processed what was happening.  Not only did God love me deeply, but He also gave me a deep love for others, including the unlovely.

Q: How has knowing Christ altered your life?

Andy: Since then, God has enabled me to serve others for their sake and in joyful obedience to Him.  Further, He has taught me much from His Word.  As a result, He has answered many of my biggest questions.  I now know that He is the Creator.  I have discovered that the purpose of life is to glorify Him, primarily by being the Church and by making disciples.  That knowledge has fixed the priorities for my life, first as a student, then as a working person, and now as a missionary.  It helps me choose the best activities from a large number of good options.

By grace, God continues to transform me.  I used to exaggerate to get attention.  Since His love for me meets my need for attention, I now tell the truth.  Much of my time used to go to playing sports.  But He disciplined me, leading to a significant injury.  Most of my energy now goes to serving others.  Meeting goals used to be my passion.  He has made me more balanced.  Although I still work towards goals, I now do so in ways that show my respect for people.

I am not the person I used to be.  I have not yet become all that God wants me to be.  But He has promised to keep making me more like Jesus.  I only hope that I remain like clay in His hand, being molded into His desire.

The Risen Lord changed history and He can also change your story. Join the life revised conversations on Facebook: omfliterature and Twitter: @omflit this Lent. Use the hashtag #liferevised

Has the Lord transformed your life? Share your life revised story with us at digital@omflit.com

Once the life of Christ has entered into us there are many things that we may do to increase the extent and depth of our identification and union with Him. But the proper use of the written Word is most central to our cooperative efforts with God toward full conformity with Christ.

The written Word may come to us in many ways. It may come through sermons, through art, through casual conversation, through dramatic performances, literature or song. All of these are important. Although all these means are good and helpful, however, the person who wishes to grow in grace is by far best advised to make a close and constant companion of the book – the Bible. I do not mean it should be worshipped. Its uniquely sacred character is something that does not need to be exaggerated or even insisted on, because it is self-authenticating to any earnest and open-minded user. For just as openness to and hunger for God leads naturally to the Bible, if  it is available, so the eager use of the Bible leads naturally and tangibly to the mind of God and the person of Christ.

The written Word of God is an expression of God’s mind just as surely, though in a different manner, are as creation and Jesus, the living Word. As we read and study it intelligently, humbly and openly, we come increasingly to share God’s mind.

This use of the Bible is not superstitious or magical, because a natural connection exists between a proper use of the Bible and its ideal result – union with Christ. The Bible expresses the mind of God, since God Himself speaks to us through its pages. Thus we, in understanding the Bible, come to share His thoughts and attitudes and even come to share His life through His Word. Scripture is a communication that establishes communion and opens the way to union, all in a way that is perfectly understandable once we begin to have experience of it.

We will be spiritually safe in our use of the Bible if we follow a simple rule: Read with a submissive attitude. Read with a readiness to surrender all you are – all your plans, opinions, possessions, positions. Study as intelligently as possible, with all available means, but never study merely to find the truth and especially not just to prove something. Subordinate your desire to find the truth to your desire to do it, to act it out.

When we come to the Scriptures as part of our conscious strategy to cooperate with God for the full redemption of our life, we must desire that his revealed will should be true for us. Next, we should begin with those parts of Scripture with which we have some familiarity, such as Psalm 23, the Lord’s Prayer, the Sermon on the Mount, 1 Corinthians 13 or Roman 8. Go first to those parts of the Bible you already know, therefore, and count on your later growth and study to lead you to other parts that will be useful.

Do not try to read a great deal at once. It is better in one year to have ten good verses transferred into the substance of our loves than to have every word of the Bible flash before our eyes. We read to open ourselves to the Spirit.

Come to your chosen passage as to a place where you will have a holy meeting with God. Read a small part of the passage and dwell on it, praying for the assistance of God’s Spirit in bringing fully before your mind and into your life the realities expressed. Always as, “What is my life like since this is true and how shall I speak and act because of this?” 

The general train of development is as follows:

1. information

2. longing for it to be so

3. affirmation that it must be so

4. invocation to God to make it so

5. appropriation by God’s grace that it is so

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Hearing God by Dallas Willard

Being close to God means communicating with Him. But how do we hear His voice? How can we be sure that what we think we hear is not our own subconscious? What role does the Bible play? What if what God says to us is not clear? In this classic work, the author provides rich spiritual insight into how we can hear God’s voice clearly and develop an intimate partnership with Him.

“Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”

Isaiah 40:28-31

God, who Himself never grows tired or weary, gives strength to the tired and enables the weary. He, the gentle, loving and caring Protector and Provider for His people, is the One who renews the strength of those who despair. He enables and strengthens those who trust in Him to overcome all the challenges of life.

Isaiah 40:31 is a metaphor of the kind of experiences that life normally brings. “They will soar on wings like eagles” refers to exciting, exhilarating, special and once-in-a-lifetime most happy occasions. We need God – our loving, gentle, caring and patient Shepherd – to make us steady, keep us in proper balance and safely bring us back to firm ground again during the times when we “soar with the wings of an eagle”.

“They will run and not grow weary” refers to the rat-race days of unrelenting pressure to do myriads of things. It is during those times of extremely heavy demands of responsibilities…that the Lord in His sovereign power and perfect wisdom gives us the strength, and discernment, and peace of heart and mind to overcome the tremendous pressures we face.

“They will walk and will not faint” refers to ordinary, uneventful, mundane and routine days when nothing out of the ordinary happens. It is the Lord, in His gentle, caring and loving ways who enables us to make slow, steady, consistent, and a step-at-a-time progress during humdrum, usual and normal day-to-day living.

Those who trust in God and His sovereign control of all things will “not faint”. God in His sovereign ways will “renew their strength” – give them fresh excitement, a fresh assurance of the eternal value of their small contribution to the building of God’s kingdom and give them renewed motivation, knowing that anything done in obedience to God will need ever be in vain.

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When things go wrong in our lives, in our nation, and even in the world, we do not have to give in to hopelessness. Someone is in charge! William Girao’s Giving Up Is Not an Option takes us through the Bible, tackling Genesis, Daniel, Esther, Revelation, interspersing the lessons gleaned from Scriptures to the local and global scene underscoring God’s sovereignty in the life of an individual, nation and the world.

Giving Up Is Not an Option is available in physical (OMF Literature Bookshops) and digital formats (through Amazon and Flipreads)

“Yet now He has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in His physical body. As a result, he has brought you into His own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before Him without a single fault.” 
Colossians 1:22 (NLT)

God has never given up on His original creation. An entire Biblical vocabulary makes this point obvious. Reconcile. Redeem. Restore. Recover. Return. Renew. Regenerate. Resurrect. Each of these biblical words begins with the re prefix, suggesting a return to an original condition that was ruined or lost. For example, redemption means to buy back what was formerly owned. Similarly, reconciliation means the restoration or reestablishment of a prior friendship or unity. Renewal means to make new again, restoring to an original state. Resurrection means becoming physically alive again, after death.

These words emphasize that God always sees us in light of what He intended us to be, and He always seeks to restore us to that design. Likewise, He sees the earth in terms of what He intended it to be, and He seeks to restore it to its original design.

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Life Promises for Eternity by Randy Alcorn

Inspired by Randy Alcorn’s best-selling book Heaven, Life Promises for Eternity provides readers with more than 100 brief, inspirational readings on the topic of Heaven and the New Earth. Each reading is coupled with a trio of complementary Bible verses designed to further illuminate what the Bible has to say about the extraordinary place we will someday call home.