Arise From Your Weeping

Written by SFL AMP on . Posted in Article, Sharing

When the Lord saw her, he was moved with pity for her and said to her, “Do not weep.” He stepped forward and touched the coffin; at this the bearers halted, and He said, “Young man, I tell you, arise!” The dead man sat up and began to speak… (From today’s Gospel: Luke 7:11-17)

We have our own reasons for weeping – problems in life, burdens in our relationships, difficulties in our work, conflicts with our friends, loss of a loved one, experience of rejection, hopelessness in waiting, and a lot more. In our weeping, we find ourselves giving up. In our weeping, we lose sight of hope. In our weeping, we forget about the promises that the Lord has given us. In our weeping, we lose our heart and we become lifeless.

But in today’s Gospel, the Lord brings us good news. He tells us, “Do not weep.” He reminds us that He knows what we are going through. He has never forgotten and He wants to save us from our weeping. He is here to comfort us. He tells us that He is in control.

Today, let us surrender to Him all that hurts. He will take away every brokenness and He will replace our heart with a new one.  He will give us new life. He tells us, “Young man, I tell you, arise!” Let us arise from the hurts, arise from the pain, arise from the things that make us dead and let us claim joy and hope in His love.

Make Them Move

Written by SFL AMP on . Posted in Sharing

“Even if everyone is telling you that something wrong is something right; even if the whole world is telling you to move, it is your duty to plant yourself like a tree, look them in the eye, and say ‘No, YOU move’.” (Peggy Carter, From the Movie Captain America, 2016)

Welcome to the real world, where what was once wrong is considered right and what was once considered right is considered taboo. Over time, it just seems that we as human persons have decided to bend the rules, bit by bit – “Oh, just this one time and never again”, or a favorite line, “What they don’t know won’t hurt them,”.

But guess what? It might not hurt them this time around, but it’s bound to make your conscience wall out the inner voice of truth that exists in you. Compromising your convictions, your standards may not necessarily hurt another but they will hurt you.

Every time you choose to keep quiet about the wrong done in the world, about the violation of another’s personhood, it doesn’t just damage the common good but it gradually builds a wall that blocks you from becoming the person you were meant to be. It is like how every compromise you make is you building a wall, stone by stone, layer by layer, until your eyes loses sight of what is true and good.

If you’ve been quietly sitting watching the world do as it pleases, it’s time for you to keep making everyday commitments to defend what is right. The world will be bound to notice you, to pick on you, to make it hard for you. But you aren’t part of the counter flow.

In the beginning, deep inside you, you had this innate understanding of freedom, of personhood and of genuine love. You know the original state of being and you need to bring people back to the “original” flow. The truth will hurt when things comes to the light, and people will hate you for shedding light on their dark living or even you breaking from that kind of living.

But guess what? You’re not alone. Captain America built a team of great character, courage and endurance and we need to discover other individuals who can do the same for us.. The warfare we face is not one for the weak and we need to know who we are fighting with in the front lines. And most of all we have to know the truth we are fighting for. This battle was won for us thousands of years ago. Victory is ours to claim but we won’t get it without a fight.

So please, “Be not afraid”, root yourself in God’s truth and make them move.

Kay Kristo ang Tunay na Pagbabago

Written by SFL AMP on . Posted in Sharing

CYD Engagement at Boys Town Tanay Rizal

By Leo Feliciano, SFL Manila

Last week, we went to DSWD’s National Training School for Boys or also known as “Boys Town” at Tanay Rizal with the Child and Youth Development Team. Nung sinabihan ako na kasama ako sa service team for the LCS Youth Camp na ibibigay namin para sa mga bata, hindi ko talaga alam gagawin ko, kasi first time kong makakasama sa isang “prison ministry” like na service, wala pa akong idea and hindi ko alam if ready na ako sa ganong klaseng engagement. Alam ko sa sarili ko, na ibang challenge ang maghandle ng mga kabataang nakulong compared sa youthcamp na palagi na nating nakakagisnan. I have lots of imagination in my mind what it was like inside the Juvenile center but when we arrived there, the experience was really different.

I was assigned to be a facilitator for one of the discussion group and also to be a sharer for a talk. During the group discussion, I was both shocked and amazed with their stories. Just a brief background, among the 8 persons that I handled, 6 of them have murder cases, 1 for theft, 1 for rape, and all of them where under influence of drugs. Well, pretty much of their stories are alike that because they are addicted to drugs they resorted in doing crimes and ending up in jail.

While hearing their stories, I realized that these young people were victims of what’s happening in our society, many of them are influenced by the environment they grew up in and what made it more surprising, that many of these young people were unheard of in our society. Juvenile Disciplinary Correction is not really a topic that we usually talk about these days but “Drugs” is really rampant with young people nowadays. It is sad to see the reality that drugs is destroying the lives of many young people and their families, while the society is not even noticing what is happening to them. It is like an eye opener for every one of us in the service team, to hear and see what these people had to go through at an early age.

While being shocked by their stories, I was also amazed with their sharing during the discussion for a lot of them have good stories to tell as well, how their lives were changed during the program and how they met God in the Boys Town. One of them is ‘James’ (not his real name), he is turning 22 years old, a community member, and he is one of the boys that helps the service team in the ins and outs of the Boys Town. James is about to finish the program and his case is about to be dismissed. I had a long conversation with him, he told me how he was addicted to drugs, how his father had left them and how he is seeking love and belongingness from people, how unstoppable he is, how he killed people and stole money from them, and how he had raped someone and he had been caught and ended up in the boys town. During the conversation with James, what struck me is that he said “the greatest thing that had happened to him is being sent in the Boys town because it is where he met the Lord”.

Almost all of them in my discussion group were telling me that in the Boys Town they met God and it is really a good experience for them to attend the spiritual seminars that they are having. I realized that God really wants to encounter all of us that he even sends people in Juvenile Centers and in Prisons just to encounter you. These young men didn’t feel God in the outside world but they all encountered Him in the most unique of way, indeed the Lord is really making His way in every one.

Well getting back to the story of James, he told me the things that they are doing in the Boys Town. He told me that they are having bible studies, retreats, and seminars. He also told me how his personal relationship with God is, how is now serving his fellow juvenile in the bible studies and discussions. He also told me about what he will do after finishing the program and being free in the outside world.

Today, James is really a new creation, from a boy who committed many crimes in the past, now a man who is loving and serving God. I was really in awe of God’s work inside the Boys Town – seeing many lives being changed by the Lord, one by one, letting them be loved by Him. Talagang makikita mo sa kanila ang sincerity at ang longing nila para kay Lord, totoo na hinahanap at gusto pa nilang makilala lalo si Kristo kasi ang mga batang ito ay naging biktima ng mga hindi magagandang pangyayari pero pinatawad sila ng Panginoon. More than being forgiven they are literally and spiritually ‘Saved’ by the Lord.

After our conversation, bumalik kami sa mga upuan para making ng talk ni Kuya EJ tapos sakto sabi ni kuya, “May ipapakilala ako sa inyong kaibigan ko, ADIK SYA, siya yung pag-uusapan natin ngayon, ADIK SYA SA PAGMAMAHAL SAYO – Siya si KRISTO ang tunay kong kaibigan”. Siyempre nakuha kaagad ni kuya lahat ng atensyon ng mga bata, pero higit pa don yung nakita ko.

While all them are listening, na-realize ko ay dalawang bagay, una, lahat ng adik mahal ng Diyos, pangalawa, lahat ng adik kayang magbago dahil si Kristo mahal na mahal sila, dahil adik nga sya sa pagmamahal sayo kaya di mo na din mapipigilang ma-adik din sa pagmamahal nya. What I saw in the Boystown really changed my heart and my mind. Before, I thought when one becomes a drug addict wala na syang pag-asa, wala ng future, paulit ulit na yan, pero ang nakita ko doon ay iba – mga taong gustong magbago, mga dating mga adik pero iba na ang kinakaadikan, si Kristo na adik magmahal sa kanila. Ang nakita ko doon ay mga taong nagkamali noon pero bago na ngayon, mga taong walang pag-asa noon pero ngayo’y punong puno na ng pag-asa.

Gusto kong sabihin ito sa mga taong may matinding pinagdadaanan ngayon at may mga nilalabanan ngayon, tulad ng mga tao sa loob ng Boystown, mahal ka din ng Diyos at lahat tayo ay kayang magbago sa pagmamahal nya. Kapit lang tayo kapatid. Huwag tayong susuko, na kay Kristo ang Tunay na Pagbabago. Huwag mong susukuan ang buhay mo kasi ang Diyos hinding hindi sumusuko sayo. Mahal tayo ng Diyos!

Finding The Right Kind of Love

Written by SFL AMP on . Posted in Article, Sharing

by Monica Miranda, SFL Laguna

To love is a wonderful gift. To know that you’re loved makes you feel complete. It makes you feel that every inch of you has worth, but what happens when he who makes you feel complete makes you also question your worth?

Experiencing Pain at First Love

I always dreamt that my first love is the man who’ll bring me to the altar. I was just 15 years old when I met my first love. He came into my life at the right time when I felt everyone was leaving me. He did everything to make me feel worthy, from the way he looked at me, to how he listened to me, and cared for me. This was the first time I let my guard down and let someone make me feel like a complete person.

But the time came when our relationship fell apart. He slowly turned away from me until he no longer involved me in his life. Suddenly, he just stopped loving me. The person who used to make up my entirety left my heart empty. Since then, I felt I’m not worthy of anything, that I’m not worth anything.

Healing from Heartache

Two years passed me by, and my life was still hollow, until something happened. There’s a saying that right love comes when you least expect it. I guess it did for me. From out of the blue, I met someone who became an instrument into finding myself again. Being invited to World Singles Congress in Lucban, I said “yes” even without knowing anyone. Though my WSC 2015 experience didn’t move me enough to feel complete again, it inspired me to join a series of SFL events, from LBS to CLS. My heart longed more and more for Jesus. Little by little, I saw myself picking up the pieces of my identity. I found my One True Love as I journey into life as an SFL.

Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Why should I be scared? Why won’t I say “yes”? By saying yes to everything that He is offering, he changed me. He made me see the beauty in the pain and brokenness I felt. The Lord taught me to empty my heart so that He could fill me up with His right kind of love. For me to realize that I’m worthy, He gave His life for me. He used my journey for me to discover, to know, and to love Him. In that journey He made me feel that He could be enough. Yes, Christ is enough for me.

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