My friend, Gina, shared with our small group from Nancy Leigh DeMoss’s book, LIES WOMEN BELIEVE, Lie Number 37: “I shouldn’t have to suffer.”
Everyone suffers whether believer or not. But when we have put our faith in Jesus Christ, He journeys with us through our suffering. It does not mean that the believer’s life is all suffering. But neither is it true that the believer’s life is just all health, wealth, and success “stripped of the call to discipleship and cross bearing,” the call for holiness, repentance, sacrificial love, humility, purity, or depth of relationship with The Lord.
The latter is referred to as the “Prosperity Gospel”. It emphasizes only God’s ability to provide the temporal, material wants of man or that material abundance is the measure of God’s blessing (name it and claim it). The danger of the Prosperity Gospel is that those who are misled by it are deprived of the opportunity to grow the spiritual muscles that are needed in order to stand firm in the certain seasons of testing and waiting. Growing in the womb of the prosperity gospel only trains the person in the things he feels entitled to without the need for confronting sin so that when suffering comes, it is considered outside of God’s will and likely cause for the person to walk away from God. But in Philippians 2, Jesus Himself did not have a sense of entitlement.
Phil 2: 6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
Nancy DeMoss busts the lie, “I shouldn’t have to suffer.” On page 222-223, she says:
“The message that the Lord Jesus Himself and by the apostles who followed Him was a call to take up the cross; it was a call to sign up for battle; it was a call to suffer… If we do not trust the heart and intentions of God, we will naturally resist suffering…The Truth is, it is impossible to be holy apart from suffering. Even Jesus Himself, during His years here on earth, was in some unexplainable way made ‘perfect through suffering’ (Hebrews 2:10); and ‘although He was a son, he learned obedience from what He suffered’ (Hebrews 5:8)…All the New Testament authors recognized that there is a redemptive, sanctifying fruit that cannot be produced in our lives apart from suffering…True joy is not the absence of pain but the sanctifying, sustaining presence of the Lord Jesus in the midst of pain. Through the whole process, whether it be a matter of days, weeks, months, or years, we have His promise: ’The God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm, and steadfast.’”
We can hold on to God’s promise in Romans 8:28, For we know that in all things (including suffering), He works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Even though we suffer, it will be for our good. Suffering will not be be in vain.
Hebrews 12:11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Discipline has a negative connotation but its origin is from the Latin discipulus meaning “pupil”.
When my children (my “pupils”) were born, I nursed them on demand feeding schedule as they cried for food. But to allow them to mature, survive, and thrive in the world they would need to navigate, I began to train them to wait a little longer between feedings. The wait made them uncomfortable and at times they would whine a little bit but I could tell when they were very hungry. I would not deprive them if they were really hungry. When they were ready, I gave them solid food. I have been on stand by to support them and give them what they need but because I love them and desire that they mature and become good citizens who will be assets and not liabilities to the world, I do not give them everything they want. This is how an imperfect parent such as I would seek to discipline my children.
Matthew 7:11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
When I thought of how I want to teach my “pupils”, I thought that in God’s perfect way, He must be wanting to teach us how to survive and thrive in a world we need to navigate, to mature and become good citizens of heaven who would be able to help others.
Philippians 3:20a But our citizenship is in heaven
That helped to renew my mind into appreciating that the times of hardship, God works out for our good. It also confirms that we are God’s children.
Hebrews 12:7-8 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.
I pray that the next time we encounter hardship, we would remember that God is teaching and maturing us, that even if it is unpleasant at the time, it will produce a harvest of righteousness and peace for us.
Righteousness is a breastplate of protection to help us stand firm against the enemy of our souls (Eph 6:14). God’s kind of peace—experienced amidst and not in the absence of the certain trials that come (James 1:2)— will carry us through and keep us steadfast through life.
Thank You for Your plans to give us a hope and future and for using our hardship to give us the necessary training so that Your good purposes in our lives may be accomplished in Jesus’s name amen.
I invite you to watch Aldrich Lloyd Talonding and James Walter Bucong from General Santos City in this rendition of “Rooftops”
The lyrics of the song taken from this website:
JESUS CULTURE LYRICS
Knowing that Your perfect grace has brought me to this place
Because of You I freely live, my life to You, oh God, I give
So I stand before You, God
I lift my voice cause You set me free
That I am Yours, I am YoursAll the good You’ve done for me, I lift up my hands for all to see
You’re the only one who brings me to my knees
To share this love across the earth, the beauty of Your holy worth
So I kneel before You, God
I lift my hands cause You set me free
So I shout out Your name, from the rooftops I proclaim
That I am Yours, I am Yours
All that I am, I place into Your loving hands
And I am Yours, I am Yours
Here I am, I stand, with arms wide open
To the One, the Son, the Everlasting God
Over lunch one day, a friend told me that sometimes when other people express their gratitude for all the wonderful blessings they receive from God and all that is going so right, it makes her feel uncomfortable because what if some of the other people around are experiencing grave problems, they might feel like they are cursed or they may be vulnerable to envy.
It is worthwhile to strike a balance between our public gratitude to the Lord with being aware and sensitive to the situation of others, that our praise for God’s faithfulness may become a source of hope for them during their time of trials and difficulty instead of a cause for them to stumble.
For those who struggle with feeling a little left out in the rain of blessings and are wondering where in the world God is, I would like to encourage you with a devotion I just received today from my former classmate, Odze:
Grammy Award-winning believer, Laura Story, also had in mind the question that when God is not answering her prayer, does it mean that He is not blessing her? Here is a previous post about that: Prayers Unanswered.
May the Lord open our eyes daily to His blessings for us, that in times of waiting, we may experience His love, grace, joy, and peace.
It is Valentine’s Weekend. I am grateful to God for my Valentine. But some people dread Valentine’s Day when they don’t have a romantic partner. Originally, Valentine’s Day was a celebration of public religious worship in honor of at least one Christian martyr named Valentinus. Only in the High Middle Ages when “courtly love flourished” during the time of Geoffrey Chaucer, the Father of English literature did Valentine’s Day get popularized as a couple thing. But Valentine’s Day, also known as Love Day has its roots on Christian love.
It’s as easy as pie to utter “I love you” to a mousse, some shoes, or an arbitrary person you choose. But genuine love is not a whim. It does not refer to the teenage fluttering of the heartbeat or the physiological arousal response that makes a man cry, “I looove youuuu!!”
Love is a decision, an act of the will to choose to do what’s best for a person, even one who doesn’t deserve it. When someone asked Jesus who is the neighbor to love as oneself, Jesus replied by telling the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10) of going all the way in helping a person who is traditionally thought of to be opposed to your own kind. Jesus taught that we are to love even our enemies and pray for those who persecute us (Matt 5:43). In John 13, Jesus showed “the full extent of His love” by His example of servant leadership. Whereas the servant is tasked to wash people’s hands, Jesus went lower by washing His disciples’ feet, including those of Judas who would betray Him. Believers are called to be pass-through channels of this love. But first, we must receive His love daily because we can only give what we have. God is our Unli-Love-Source. He Himself is love (1John 4:8)
If this Valentine Weekend, you are one of the millions around the world who do not have a romantic Valentine and are feeling bad about it, there is a promise which may uplift you. In Hebrews 12:26-27 which Pastor Joey Bonifacio calls The Promise That No One Wants (I found my copy at Victory Christian Fellowship Fort Bonifacio bookstore http://www.victoryfort.org)
Heb 12:26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”[e] 27 The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe
The verse reminds us that there is nothing and no one we can hold on to in this life. These “shakeable things” (inclusive of people) that we put our hope in or hold on to apart from God can be and will be shaken from us so that we can recognize and put God and His kingdom, (what is unshakeable) in the rightful place in our lives.
Make no mistake. You are preciously loved!
There is no greater love than Jesus’s love for you.
John 15:13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
God loves you unconditionally, dying for you even when you were opposed to Him.
Rom 5:8: But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While were still sinners, Christ died for us.
God’s love is everlasting. It will not fade or end.
Jer 3:b “I have loved you with an everlasting love”
God, the Lover of Your Soul, does not change. He does not flipflop from day to day.
James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
God’s love is holy and righteous, not selfish and distorted
If you belong to Jesus, it is Valentine’s Day the whole year through! Happy Valentine’s Year! You are God’s Beloved Valentine!
Deonna Tan-chi is a beautiful, beloved woman of God, a strong, mature, believer who walks the talk of the biblical principles she teaches.
CBN Asia’s 700 Club featured the story, “When Bad Things Happen to Good People” on the rape of her daughter, Joy Tanchi-Mendoza.
Even though it was a story of hope and faith, I wept when I watched the feature. Maybe the tears were a mixture of pain, hope, and faith… just like life sometimes.
I think that a mother seeing one’s child suffer is doubly harder because you can’t shield your child from that pain. After understanding a little more the reality of what Joy (and the Tan-chi family) experienced, I tried to reconcile Deonna’s fervent serving of the Lord today and that trial of the past. I prayed for a chance to interview her about this to ask how she kept her faith. I see her now and then but because I know how busy she is each and every day with her many ministries, I rush when I see her and only remember the interview as an afterthought.
Last night was our divine appointment. I was having dinner with some ladies when Deonna arrived at the food hall. She looked around, approached our table, and sat down beside me. It was one of the days I brought my iPad fully charged and we had at least half an hour before the scheduled event. Here is that interview:
BUTTERFLYINTHESPRING (BITS): How did you overcome this trial?
DEONNA TANCHI (DT):
CRISIS OF FAITH
My first reaction was I really couldn’t believe that God allowed it to happen. I thought to myself, If God didn’t protect our family, then why should I follow Him? What if I just turned away from God? I was very upset because I had prayed every night for God to protect our family, our children… and then that one night He didn’t. As I was struggling in my heart, as I was thinking, “But if I turn away, where would I go?” ‘cause God is my life. He’s everything to me.
YES LORD, I’LL TRUST YOU
And then God spoke to me in a very still, small voice. He said, “Deonna, will you be willing to trust Me, even with this? Will you trust Me that I will use it for good?” I thought about it and I thought, “Yes, Lord, I’ll trust You.” And that became our battlecry. Even the other families—with these two other girls who were raped plus one of our helpers. So we all decided that we were gonna trust God to use it for good.
WRESTLING WITH GOD
I had told God, “I don’t understand this. I feel very bad about it. Why didn’t You let it happen to me instead of Joy? I’ll be like Jacob. When he was wrestling with You, He wouldn’t let You go until he saw his promise fulfilled.” God showed me that Joy and her friends were like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They had gone through the fiery furnace but Jesus was with them in the furnace through that terrible experience and that they would come out, they would not smell of smoke, they would not be burned or damaged.
FULL LIFE FROM JESUS GREATER THAN SATAN
The verse He gave me is that Satan had come that night to kill, steal, and destroy…literally. But He reminded me that he said “I (Jesus)’ve come to give full life and to give it abundantly. God was working in my heart simultaneously that night, the next day, and onwards.
BELIEVING GOD’S WORD, HE WILL USE IT FOR GOOD
It was a matter of trusting Him and walking by faith and not by sight and believing His word that He would take care of Joy and her friends. And they’re all okay today. They’re not dysfunctional. They don’t have bitterness. They were able to forgive the men who had raped them and entrust their lives to God and trust that He would use it for good. And they are willing to talk about it. They’re willing to use it and share it because they really did trust God. So Joy said, “You know, Mom and Dad, I know that God is sovereign. He could have stopped what happened. He could have stopped the rape. But He didn’t. I know He loves me and that if He allowed it, then He’s gonna use it for good.” At fifteen, she was able to process it. And that helped me too because if I had seen her not processing it properly by faith, it would have been more difficult for me to go through it, I think. I’d be very concerned about her.
God worked deeply in all of our hearts. We were there to support one another also and the other families of the two other friends who were raped, we were there for one another. She had her friends. They were there for one another. They told the school what had happened. And people came forward and hugged them afterwards. We told her that your virginity has been stolen (it was done against her will) but you can still be a spiritual virgin for the Lord. People came forward also and someone said, “You know I was raped and I never told anybody. Could you please hug me too? This is the first time I’m telling anybody.” So God started healing.
THIS WILL ENCOURAGE OTHERS
And then God gave me another verse that what will happen to you will go out to the whole world and people will be encouraged and because of the missionary community, they were texting everybody in the world and so it went out to the whole world.
TRUST GOD DESPITE, NOT JUST IN ABSENCE OF, PROBLEMS
After that, people who had always thought “it’s so easy for you to trust God because you have no problem” but when they saw the grace of God in our life through this tragedy, they were encouraged that God would also be there for them no matter what they went through.
BITS: Was that a quick process for you to reach the decision to trust God?
SURRENDER AND FAITH
Very fast. The bible says, “In everything, give thanks. It sounds crazy. In a situation like that, how can you give thanks. I never did say thank you that she’s raped. But I said, “Lord, thank You for how You’re gonna use it.” Thanking God is an act of surrender and faith. And God put my heart at peace. As we went through it, I just couldn’t let go of that. I had to hold on to that promise. That hope that we have is the anchor for our soul no matter what we go through, that hope in Him that He’s gonna take care of us and those we love as we hope in Him in His way and His time.
BITS: Why did you not file charges when you were violated?
DT: We decided that we would trust God to stop them and we decided not to press charges. But we really prayed against them doing it again. Two years later, we received a call that they had actually been stopped. The group was disbanded and somewhere in jail. So God took care of them.
I think it’s a case by case. I’m not saying it’s wrong to file charges. But that’s how we were led. We thought that the girls had been through enough trauma already to go through that again. But if a person is led by God, let’s say there’s molestation of a child and the person is unrepentant and they feel like they should inform the authorities. God would guide. There’s no hard and fast rule.
UNFORGIVENESS CAN BE A STRONGHOLD FOR SATAN TO MANIPULATE US
Of course, the first thing anybody has to do is forgive. No matter what the situation, we have to forgive because when we don’t’ forgive, it becomes the stronghold of Satan in our life to manipulate us. After forgiving, they have to pray for those who have harmed us. We actually prayed for those men to come to know the Lord. We really pray for their salvation because we knew that they had done it because they were not Christians. They didn’t know the Lord.
BITS: Was there a song that ministered to you during your time of trial?
DT: Marching On With Hearts Courageous. We sang it that Sunday in worship after Joy’s rape and I sang it in tears with all my heart as a declaration that we would not stop loving, serving, and following the Lord even though Satan had tried to stop us. In fact, I was more committed than ever. At that time, we were worshipping at PICC.
BITS to You: Here is that song:
and its lyrics:
Give us ears to hear that still, small voice
And give us lips forever willing to rejoice
And may our eyes be lit with wisdom,
May we know the path that’s true,
And we’ll march with hearts courageous after You.
We’re marching on with hearts courageous;
We’ll follow anywhere You want us to,
And should you lead us where the battle rages
We will march with hearts courageous after You.
And when sorrow dims the light along the way
Help us to see each time of darkness through eyes of faith.
A time for hope, a time for courage
Knowing You will lead us through,
And we’ll march with hearts courageous after You.
GOD’S REDEMPTION AND GRACE
DT: The other (friend of Joy who was raped) when she tells her story, she would preface it, “I want to tell you a beautiful story”. The way she processed it was it’s beautiful because of God’s redemption and God’s grace. She said “I will tell you a beautiful story” which is a terrible story when you look at it humanly speaking but how God brought them through and how God used them. Nothing is ever wasted in our life if we don’t keep it, if we let God use it. He’s gonna use everything.
The third interview clip reveals the reality of pain the experience caused but Deonna (along with her family) had firmly made her choice to trust God during that time of testing. Choosing to trust and follow God despite those difficult circumstances proved that God was their Number One. The enemy knows how to attack and disarm God’s people but the Tan-chi Family’s godly response released them from that snare. They individually and as a family unitedly moved on to experience God’s freedom, joy, and full life.
Joy has become an able, compassionate, wise counselor/mentor for women not only in her local spheres of influence but worldwide through her blog, http://www.teachwithjoy.com. She is a wonderful woman of God. I encourage you to visit her blog. Her life is not defined by the tragedy she faced when she was fifteen. By her own godly response to that trial to trust and follow Him in spite of it, she allowed God to use it for good; many have been strengthened to trust and follow God in their own circumstances.
All of the five Tan-chi children are walking with and serving The Lord, have godly spouses, and are raising their biological and spiritual families in the ways of The Lord. At the time of that tragedy, Christ’s Commission Fellowship (CCF) was a small ministry. Today, CCF of which Deonna’s husband, Pastor Peter is founder and Senior Pastor, has a fellowship across the globe of around 50,000 believers desiring Christlike transformation in lives, families, communities, and nations.
What would have been the outcome if because of that trial, Deonna and her family chose to turn away from The Lord and not trust that He is bigger than their circumstance? What if they limited themselves to what was seen and perceivable (the pain and anguish of the situation at hand) and discounted what was unseen (God in the equation)? It is natural to be affected by emotions but imagine the impact of daily decisions made where emotions take greater weight than God. The lessons from Deonna’s life are applicable to our variety of life trials as well. I pray that when the crises of faith come, we would remember her example and decide and choose the best option: Trust God.
Thank You for Deonna’s life. Thank You for Your work in her and through her to make her a channel of grace, prayers, wisdom. Thank You for her example of being a godly wife, mother, mentor, person. Thank You for giving Joy and the other young ladies Your wisdom at the time of trial to trust and follow You. Thank You for all of their obedience that has given us a chance to see that as You promised in Your word, You have and are continuing to use for good what the enemy intended for evil. We lift up to You Pastor Peter, Deonna, all of their children and grandchildren, their ministries that You would protect them from the enemy, that You would continue to use them mightily for Your purposes and glory. In our own lives, please pierce us with Your truth and Spirit that we would have the wisdom to trust You during our trials that we too would march on with hearts courageous following after You in Jesus’s name amen.
Sharing with you Pastor Joseph Bonifacio’s teaching. I think it’s a good message for men who don’t know that charming chicks are the cheese on the enemy’s mousetraps they tap dance on.
A previous post on the related topic:
I don’t know what makes this topic interesting to people, whether it is the prospect of the three characters each meeting his/her match, the reminder that everything will be laid bare and that God is greater than man’s ability to cover up, the interest in seeing who is the innocent one, the desire to see justice prevail, is it finding oneself in the story as being cornered by someone who considers himself above God’s or man’s laws? Do these characters represent someone we know?
It’s news. It’s easy to listen and then engage in the forum. The topic is perfect fodder for comedy. And indeed Teddy Boy Locsin writing about people riveted to a tv where an interview of what he thought was a panda caught my attention. Perhaps in the fearful prospects of the extent of evil that allegedly took place, humor suspends belief or provides relief.
Do we long to hear that people put godly boundaries to guard from evil—that women don’t seduce men (who are not their own husbands) by any form of words and actions and inviting them to their private spaces, that men will not be led by their genitals, that men will not think they are above the law— because the absence or flexing of these boundaries unleashes Satan’s destructive work in people’s lives?
Do our ears itch to hear that man will fear God?
Psalm 10:13 Why does the wicked man revile God? Why does he say to himself, “He won’t call me to account”? 14 But you, O God, do see trouble and grief; you consider it to take it in hand. The victim commits himself to you; you are the helper of the fatherless. 15 Break the arm of the wicked and evil man; call him to account for his wickedness that would not be found out. 16 The LORD is King for ever and ever; the nations will perish from his land. 17 You hear, O LORD, the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry, 18 defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more.
As media continues to release information and we are spectators, it is easy to detachedly judge, have the latest tidbits juice up our lunches, avail of the comic relief. But what if one of these characters were in front of you and me? What would Jesus have us do?
Here are some things that came to mind:
1. God is the Father of compassion (2Cor 1:3b) and we as his children (John 1:12; Rom 8:29), are called to be like Him: compassionate.
2. The issues of unfaithfulness to God, taking matters into our own hands, stumbling others we are guilty of
James 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.
3. The three characters are no more sinners than we are.
Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God
4. God gave us the ministry of reconciliation… we are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. (2Cor 5:18b-20a)
5. We are called to ourselves be reconciled to God (2Cor 5:20b), that we stop the things that are not aligned with God’s will (gossip, judging, coarse joking)
6. Heb 12:15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
Therefore, this would be the message I would like to offer:
Dear Vhong/ Dear Deniece/ Dear Cedric,
God loves you so much that He sent Jesus to die for you so you wouldn’t have to perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). Jail isn’t your worst problem. The fiery lake of burning sulfur (Rev 21:8) is. Jesus offers you refuge, He is your best asylum. Please find out about what the Bible says. He can see through you and knows the whole truth, even the things that are unspoken, things done in the dark. We are all defined as sinners and Jesus came to save us, He came for the sick. There are consequences to our actions but it is better to fall into the hands of God who is merciful, holy, and impartial than to fall into human hands.
Deut 10:17 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.
2 Sam 24:14 David said to Gad, “I am in deep distress. Let us fall into the hands of the Lord, for his mercy is great; but do not let me fall into human hands.”
Even as you seek legal counsel, there is no better time than now to seek spiritual counsel from people who honor the authority of the Word of God, the only offensive weapon in God’s full armour (Eph 6:10-17). Know God’s weapons of warfare. Know God’s promises. Know the God who loves you who calls Himself the God of Jacob (the supplanter/ schemer/ transgressor of moral boundaries). God knows the plans He has for you, to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future (Jer 29:11).
Praying for your deliverance from evil,
Butterfly in the Spring
The awards I received, I know are fully by God’s grace alone, a favor He bestowed on me. My abilities, and all the factors that need to align in order for the outcome to be successful are all from Him.
Psalm 115:1 Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.
Dictionary.com has these definitions:
The favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; the accomplishment of one’s goals. 2. the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.
Triumph over an enemy in battle or war.
Superior position achieved against any opponent, opposition, difficulty
The Bible refers to our enemy as not people, but spiritual forces of evil (Satan and his camp).
Eph 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
I thank the Lord for the accomplishments (however humble) He allows in my life. These are the testimonies of His faithfulness and provision that the world may see as success. These are great blessings. But if I could only have one, my heart’s deepest desire is that the triumph of God over evil will be manifested in my life such that I will be walking in a way that gives glory to God. That will be living in victory.
Within a few days after I wrote this post, a dear sister in Christ, Jasmin, shared with me this verse during our conversation:
John 17:4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.
Jesus was talking to God the Father defining that glory would be given to the Father by the Son finishing the work He was given to do. By the same token, we are able to give glory to the Father when we finish the work He gave us to do based on God’s revealed will from our Creator’s Instruction Manual for our lives: the bible.
FROM PRODIGAL TO PASTOR
BITS: Now on your eighth year as a pastor, what do you see as the effect in a family when the father is spiritually ailing or dead?
DU: The accountability lies in the hands of the husband/father. When we fail to do the task God entrusted to us, it will affect the whole family. I believe God will hold each of the fathers and husbands accountable for the failures.
BITS: How about if they don’t know they are supposed to be the head?
DU: God gave us the manual of life, the bible. And if we fail, if we neglect, there’s no excuse that we do not know. God gave us so much time to know the biblical principles of handling the family, relationships, in living our lives in accordance with what God has willed for us.
BITS: In your experience with counselees, do you see a greater percentage of brokenness when they have a problem in their relationship with their earthly fathers?
DU: In jail, 70% of inmates are drug related; most of them have dysfunctional families. I’m not saying it’s all because of the fathers but since the father is supposed to be the leader, a lot lies in the father’s hands. Even in rehab and fraternities, most of the kids we have counseled were affected by bad modeling or experiences, first with the father then the rest with the mother.
BITS: For sons of such fathers, how would you talk to them?
DU: I normally start by sharing what happened to me, what I experienced with my father. I can’t just say, “You’re wrong”. I ask questions that will help them realize the area where they are failing. A constant reminder for me that it is not my duty to change a person, it’s God’s duty. My role as a counselor/pastor is to help enlighten, help him see areas in his life where in he is becoming negligent or failing. Help that person see the effects of going against the guidelines of the parents, help him see that he is not just rebelling against parents but against God. If he rebels, what are the possible consequences. I believe the very reason God allowed me to undergo so many colorful experiences as a child, as a father, and husband is so that I have experiences to share with my counselees. We are able to establish a common ground.
BITS: If a child has lost faith in God, perhaps thinking that God is not listening to prayers, how would you encourage this person?
DU: First, I remind him that it is not up to us to change the other person. It’s God’s role to change anyone according to His perfect timing. Our role is to pray and constantly show love and faith. While waiting for the other person to change, we need to do the things that God wants us to do, for us to have a new trajectory. Whenever we make a decision to obey the Lord no matter what, even if the prayers are still unanswered, it is still for our benefit. Our decisions on the new path that we’ll be taking will not just change our lives but our family’s as well… for those who are still single, for the benefit of their future family. For those kids who are praying earnestly for the fathers or parents to change, their role is to start seeing things according to God’s perspective, start building new paths according to God’s path. We can’t change the past but we can change the future.
BITS: Were you able to express to your father about your years of pain and brokenness?
DU: Yes I was able to tell my father how hurt I was, how it affected me, the kind of relationship that we had, that I was angry with him. The desire is not to tell him how bad he was but in helping him come to know The Lord. I invested more on sharing with him what he didn’t experience with his father and that is the love of Jesus. I would often express my love for him, I would often embrace him, text him how much I love him and when I see him, I would tell him personally how much I love him
BITS: So your father also had a poor model with his own father
DU: Oh yes.
BITS: Do you think that was a generational curse?
DU: Exactly. Children tend to do what children see even if it’s against our will to do bad things.
BITS: How do you break the generational curse?
DU: Not thru our own might but thru the power of The Father… that is by surrendering our lives to our Lord Jesus. The Lord will empower us through the Holy Spirit to break the bondage, the curse, and have that new character and life in Jesus.
BITS: For those family members who are not able to express their brokenness to the person who hurt them, or maybe the offending party did not ask for forgiveness. How can healing take place?
DU: Healing can take place the moment we humble ourselves before God. I believe the crucial period for me was when I talked to God; I admitted to Him how angry and hurt I was with my father. By being honest with God, He will really bring healing to our hearts. That’s the time God will enable us have the desire and courage to forgive and be reconciled.
BITS: In your marriage restoration did deliverance have any part?
DU: Deliverance will only take effect when you acknowledge your sins. I experienced my first deliverance during that dawn watch when I totally surrendered my life to God when I told God how hurt and angry I was and when I asked him to help me get rid of vices smoking, drinking, womanizing. That time, the Lord delivered me. It’s in the bible that the moment we surrender our lives to God, we become his children, His followers. Since Jesus said that all authority is given him, He also empowers us to do self deliverance by acknowledging, admitting that we need Him.
BITS: What a bout the ungodly soul ties with the women you were involved with outside of marriage?
DU: That’s one thing that I had to confess to God…that I had relationships with different women. It’s wrong for us to think that going to that person personally to ask for forgiveness will somehow cut those ties. The best thing for us to do is to ask God for forgiveness and acknowledge that we have done terrible mistakes by having affairs with different women. God himself will cut those soul ties.
BITS: Why do you think it’s not helpful for you to go back to those women to ask for forgiveness personally?
DU: It’s like going to the lion’s den because you are again exposing yourself to that temptation. I’m not saying that when you surrender your life to Christ you will no longer feel those temptations. In James, we are told to flee from temptations. So whenever we expose ourselves, that’s very dangerous.
BITS: What about if there are men who want to maintain communication with the women they had extramarital relationships with?
DU: The sincerity to be restored and transformed is questionable because maintaining communication is like assurance that if the marriage fails, meron pa akong babalikan (there is still a back up woman to go to). There’s no genuine intention to cut the relationship.
BITS: If you were talking to a wife of such a husband who has no clear genuine sincerity to cut off those communication lines with their past sexual partner(s), what would you say?
DU: Continue to submit and show kindness. It’s God’s role to put an end to the ungodly relationship. There are two ways: (1) God will ask the man to end it voluntarily; or (2) He will Himself put an end to it. If it’s God who moves, it is somehow more painful. For the wives, do not play the role of the Holy Spirit to convict your husband. If you nag the husband, it might be a trigger for the husband to entertain being reconciled with the other women.
BITS: How do you see your life now?
DU: I would constantly tell people that life is beautiful, that family is indeed a gift from God. This is the opposite mindset to the deceptions Satan placed in my heart that the only only way or the best way to enjoy life was by having fleshly pleasures. You can really enjoy your life with your wife and children as long as God is in the center of it.
BITS: Do you have a life verse?
DU: One of my favorite verses is when the apostle Paul said in 1 Timothy 1:13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.
BITS: Supposing the Pastor Danny Urquico of today met the 9 year old young boy, Danny Urquico, what would the Pastor tell the young boy?
DU: [a big smile] If ever I will be given that opportunity to talk to that young boy, I would tell him: “God has wonderful plans for you. You may feel like a nobody but you will be somebody because of your Lord Jesus. Whatever it is that you experience, The Lord allows it for some good reason and that is to use whatever you go through for a greater purpose, to reach out to as many people as you can and give them hope.”
BITS: Switching now, what would the young 9 year old Danny Urquico tell today’s Pastor Danny?
DU: The only reaction that the 9 year old Danny would feel is to be so proud of the old Pastor Danny.
BITS: If you saw Jesus today what would you tell him?
DU: No words can really express how grateful I am for the kind of grace that He has shown me. The only thing that keeps me out of trouble is that constant reminder of how Jesus loves me. I will just literally embrace him.
BITS: How can you keep steadfast in your walk and faith?
DU: To be reminded of the goodness of God, to be reminded of the trust He, my wife, leaders, and the church gave me is a constant reminder for me to be sane and to constantly do what is right and pleasing to the Lord. Whenever I wake up in the morning, that’s what I ask God: to guide me in all of my decisions that my life, at the end of the day, will be pleasing to Him.
BITS: What message do you have for the different hurting people this Christmas?
DU: It’s good that we have Christmas season wherein we have the opportunity to show love to one another but celebrating sweet times with the family should not only be during Christmas. Everyday is an opportunity for us to celebrate Christmas because it is not only about the season but about the reason why the Lord Jesus died for us and everyday is an oppportunity for us to show how much we love God by showing love and kindness to anyone . Christmas should not be seasonal, it should be a lifestyle.
BITS: Any parting words?
DU: We all have different stories to tell. These stories soon in God’s time will be used as His stories.
BITS: Can you please say a prayer for men who are currently prodigal husbands?
BITS: Can you please pray for the wives of those men?