Thursday, September 11, 2014

Brightness Amidst the Darkness

Who didn't love the evening sky, the round shining Moon, and those bright little stars? But while you were gazing at those glitters across the sky, have you noticed one or two "unnaturally-bright stars"? You might have wondered what these super bright objects are, and these might be quasars!

Have you heard of the term "quasar"? It was first discovered in the early 1960's, and due to lack of modern technology at that time, a Chinese-born U. S. astrophysicist Hong-Yee Chiu just coined the name "quasar", and he described it as:

"So far, the clumsily long name 'quasi-stellar radio sources' is used to describe these objects. Because the nature of these objects is entirely unknown, it is hard to prepare a short, appropriate nomenclature for them so that their essential properties are obvious from their name. For convenience, the abbreviated form 'quasar' will be used throughout this paper."
Wikipedia described these as:

"Quasars (/ˈkweɪzɑr/) or quasi-stellar radio sources are the most energetic and distant members of a class of objects called active galactic nuclei (AGN). Quasars are extremely luminous... Their luminosity can be 100 times greater than that of the Milky Way."

However, there had been a controversial scientific discovery in the early 1980's. Didn't you know that this super radiant object is actually not bright all by itself? And what was so shocking is that what had been causing its brightness was, in fact, a super dark material (actually the darkest existing matter) - a blackhole!

It might be so hard to accept that at first, but didn't you know that in life, the darkest of moments could bring out the most radiant character in you? That is, once your life had been surrendered to Jesus Christ. All by ourselves, we only tend to make selfish, stubborn, and destructive decisions. We were inclined to make sinful decisions due to our sinful nature. As Romans 3:11-12 says:

"None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside;  together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one.”

But by God's great mercy and grace, Jesus Christ made a way for our reconciliation with God when He died on the cross, was buried, and was risen again after three days! And everyone who believes on Jesus, surrenders his life, and turns away from his sinful ways, is reconciled with God! God's light will shine upon him in such a way that others will be seeing the positive changes in his life. As 2 Corinthians 5:17-19 says:

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation."

My friend, you might have been experiencing the darkest nights in your life: heartbreaking relationships, frustrating failures, discouraging disappointments, shattered dreams, or ruined plans. But please know that even during these times, God's light never dims out. His grace is still sufficient no matter how hurting and painful your situation might be. He knows you more than you know yourself, and He longs for you to seek Him with all of your heart.

Friend, remember, it's in the darkest of night that a little lamp shines the brightest! Look unto Jesus, the ultimate source of this light.

© 2014 Erickson Ibana

Image can be found at

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Give Me My Chocolates

"Sometimes God removes things from our lives for our own protection." - Unknown 

Do you still remember the time when you were young, and you really enjoyed munching on candies and chocolates? It was as if there was no tomorrow, and it would only take 2 minutes to consume one pack of M&Ms (hmm.. if you were well off), or Goya (if your budget was less than P10)!

And... what would mother usually say? "Hey! You stop that!"

During those times, I really could not understand why such a delightful thing be banned from my meals! But as I grew up, I realized that too much of this thing was not healthy at all, plus this might have caused the decay of most of my teeth!

As a young adult, I have lots of "chocolates" in my life that, little by little, God has been removing. Some of these, I might have understood already why were they being taken out; but some, at the moment I really could not comprehend yet.

But thinking about it, too much of anything really is not healthy at all. And even if we are taking it in moderation, some things really are not meant to be in our system.

How about in your life, is there any "unhealthy" thing that has already crept into your system? Is there a sin in your life that keeps on clinging onto your shoulders? Is there something that God wants you to surrender? My friend, if Jesus Christ has been your Savior and your Lord, the Bible says:

"It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." - Galatians 5:1

You are already free by the grace of God! Through faith then, surrender everything unto Jesus' feet - including these "chocolates" that you love the most.

© 2014 Erickson Ibana

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

For the Love of my Life

Since we are in the month when predominantly the "love is in the air", let me share to you my poem for my sweet inspiration - the Love of my life!

Actually, I have written this way back 2011 in my past post about the 6 Types of Love. (And if you would like to know what type of love is dominant in you, please do check it out.)

For the Love of my Life
© 2011 Erickson Ibana

That when everything else around me seems to fail,
And when my faith seems to falter,

When all I hold on to seems to be gone,
And all my hopes and dreams  seem to vanish.

When things are not going as I first expected,
And frustrations seem to eat away my flickering faith…

Whenever I look at your love for me,

And focus on your unconditional love,

Everything around me starts to dim,

Giving me another reason to strive,
And run this race called “life”,

For You and only You, my God, my Friend.

I might consider myself a failure in this "area" (one reason might be my extreme introversion, most especially towards the person that I like, and other "valid" reasons), but there is one thing that I have proven to be true all along - Jesus Christ, with His unconditional love, did not leave me even at those times when my faith on Him was weak and rather chose to please myself.

I might not know the future yet (and that includes my future wife), but I am sure He will never leave me (because He promised it, and I believe He will keep His promise).

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” - Hebrews 13:5
You might have found your "better half" already or still in the progress of meeting that person, but still, know that it is Jesus Christ who is the only Person who can love you unconditionally - but you have to let Him love you first by surrendering your life and turning away from your sinful ways.

I hope and pray that God would open your heart and your eyes, by His grace, for you to see how you really need Jesus Christ in your life. And to fully experience a lasting satisfaction from this "Love Month" on!

© 2014 Erickson Ibana

Image can be found at

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Leadership Level 2: Permission or Relationship

Most of the times, this level is being skipped out. After getting the "position" as the leader, most of the aspiring starters jump straight through Level 3. They start to give out orders and commands, not being aware that they are dealing with humans (and not robots).

As a recap, we learned that in the First Level, your title or your position is the only influence you have. Furthermore, climbing in this level, the "relationship" level, you are trying to get people to work for you even if they are not obliged. 

Does it sound as if this only exists on a "perfect" or "ideal" system? Isn't it? How can you make someone work for you beyond his work schedule, that is, it's like working for charity? This might sound weird, but yes, if you excel in this level people naturally allow themselves to follow you, even if it might cause "some inconveniences" on their part.

John C. Maxwell gave an illustration from the story of Henry Ford (in Amitai Etzioni's book "Modern Organizations"):

He made a perfect car, the Model T, that ended the need for any other car. He was totally product-oriented. He wanted to fill the world with Model T cars. But when people started coming to him and saying, "Mr. Ford, we'd like a different color car," he remarked, "You can have any color you want as long as it's black." And that's when the decline started.
The "permission" level is where you work out your inter-relationship skills. You need to build solid and lasting foundation of relationship with your followers in order to sustain a long and effective kind of leadership.

As John C. Maxwell puts it in words:

"You can love people without leading them, but you cannot lead people without loving them."

To excel in the "relationship" level of leadership, most of the times, you would need to invest your time, your patience, and your finances - it is more of investing "yourself" for them. There would come a time when it seems you are not seeing the results yet, but still, be persistent on building up on this level. Remember, one of the most difficult tasks in constructing a skyscraper is laying out its foundations. But once the foundations are all set up, it is not impossible to erect a giant building, even if it is the mighty Burj Khalifa - the tallest man-made structure in the world!

If you aim to proceed to the next level, these are the qualities John Maxwell listed in his book "Developing the Leader Within You" that you must exhibit first, with excellence.

  • Possess a genuine love for people.
  • Make those who work with you more successful.
  • See through other people's eyes.
  • Love people more than procedures.
  • Do "win-win" or don't do it.
  • Include others in your journey.
  • Deal wisely with difficult people.

Now, if you see yourself excelling in this level, you need to climb to the next level of leadership.

And we will be talking about that on the next post about Leadership.

© 2014 Erickson Ibana

Image can be found

Second image can be found in John Maxwell's book "Developing the Leader Within You"

Monday, January 20, 2014

Ignite 365: Do Not Be Anxious (20 of 365)

"Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path." -Psalm 119:105

It is interesting that the Word of God is compared to a lamp. It is quite obvious that even a small flame shines the brightest in the darkest time of the night. It is living and active as well!

"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." -Hebrews 4:12

Psalms and Wisdom Literature: Psalm 19

The Law of the Lord is Perfect
Once again, David was so graphic in his descriptions on the glory and greatness of God. I imagine myself in the same spot where David was while looking at the sun. He likened the rising of the sun to a groom who prepares to leave his chamber and runs its course with joy.

Then, David focused on God's Word. He described how valuable the Word of God is - perfect, sure, right, pure, clean, true, to be desired more than gold, and sweeter than honey. He also mentioned the benefits of obeying God through His Word - he is warned, and a great reward is waiting for him.

Lastly, David uttered these words unto the Lord:

"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight,O Lord, my rock and my redeemer."

Pentateuch and History of Israel: Genesis 19

God Rescues Lot | God Destroys Sodom
This described both the greatness of the goodness of God, and the severity of the wrath of God at the same time. We saw in the story how great is God's grace for the righteous (His child). Before God poured out His wrath on a very wicked nation, He waited for Lot to settle first and be safe. In the story, we could not compare the severity of His wrath to any other else. The whole region was destroyed by fire and brimstone, to the extent of pulverizing it so that nothing else was left from it - up to this date. This story also reminded us not to look back into our sinfulness when God has already given you the grace for freedom from sin, as to what had happened to Lot's wife who became a pillar of salt after looking back into Sodom with an unrepentant heart.

Lot and His Daughters
Lot had committed a sin of incest with his two daughters, that was when he was made drunk by them. Later, these two gave birth to Moab (which means "from father") who became the father of the Moabites, and Ben-ammi (which means "son of my people") who became the father of the Ammonites. It must be noticed that there were times that these nations, the Moabites and the Ammonites, were hostile against the Israelites later on.

Chronicles and Prophets: 1 Chronicles 21:18–22:19

David Builds an Altar | David Prepares for Temple Building | Solomon Charged to Build the Temple
Remember when 70,000 men died because of a pestilence that God sent to Israel? It was because of the sin of David when he made a census of the whole nation - a sin of pride in his heart. Yet, it is after he repented (and the calamity was stopped) that David said these words when ordered to build an altar in a field where Ornan the Jebusite owned:

"No, but I will buy them for the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, nor offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”

It is also interesting that at this same site will the Temple of the Lord be built by Solomon. David instructed Solomon to be faithful to the Lord. At the same time, David prepared the materials needed for the Temple of the Lord.

“Now, my son, the Lord be with you, so that you may succeed in building the house of the Lord your God, as he has spoken concerning you. Only, may the Lord grant you discretion and understanding, that when he gives you charge over Israel you may keep the law of the Lord your God. Then you will prosper if you are careful to observe the statutes and the rules that the Lord commanded Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Fear not; do not be dismayed."

Gospels and Epistles: Luke 12:13–48

The Parable of the Rich Fool | Do Not Be Anxious | You Must Be Ready
Jesus was teaching us to focus on Him and His Kingdom more than the earthly pleasures and riches. From the Parable of the Rich Fool to the teachings about how God blessed the birds with food and the grass with "clothes" (and not even Solomon had worn such beauty), Jesus was teaching to look onto the life in eternity. Lastly, we were being instructed to be ready when that day comes when Jesus would come back again.

"Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."

"Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more."

© 2014 Erickson Ibana

Image can be found at

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Ignite 365: A You A Pharisee? (19 of 365)

"Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path." -Psalm 119:105

It is interesting that the Word of God is compared to a lamp. It is quite obvious that even a small flame shines the brightest in the darkest time of the night. It is living and active as well!

"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." -Hebrews 4:12

Psalms and Wisdom Literature: Psalm 18

The Lord is My Rock and My Fortress
This is a song of victory made by David when he was rescued from his numerous enemies and from Saul as well. It is interesting that David was so graphic when he described how the Lord showed His might and power. The vivid descriptions of mountains were trembling, great lightning appeared, and hailstorms and fires fell down. After all these, David once again acknowledged that God was the One who saved him, who gave him strength.

Pentateuch and History of Israel: Genesis 18:16–33

Abraham Intercedes for Sodom
It is interesting that just a few moments after God promised Abraham that he and Sarah will be having a son a year from that time, God revealed unto Abraham what He was about to do - He will go down unto Sodom and Gomorrah and see if they have done altogether according to the outcry against the gravity and wickedness of their sins. Lot, Abraham's nephew, was living there with his family. The moment Abraham heard this, notice how he intercedes for Sodom for the sake of his nephew, Lot.

"Suppose there are fifty righteous within the city. Will you then sweep away the place and not spare it for the fifty righteous who are in it?"
From 50, it became 45. From 45, Abraham made his request into 40. Then from 40, he asked if God would still destroy the city if 30 righteous were found there. From 30, he lowered it to 20 righteous people. Lastly, from 20 righteous people, Abraham inquired if he would still annihilate the whole city if 10 righteous people are found there. It is interesting that on all of the requests Abraham made until the last one, God said:

“For the sake of ten I will not destroy it.” 

Chronicles and Prophets: 1 Chronicles 21:1–17

David's Census Brings Pestilence
Here King David made a terrible sin. He ordered Joab and the commanders of his army to number Israel so that he might know it. This might seem to be too trivial to be a reason of the destruction of the whole Israel, but God saw what man could not. At a time when everything seems alright and there seems to be no problems at all, David acquired pride in his heart. As Matthew Henry commented, the census was not needed at all:

"(1.) It was a needless thing. there was not occasion at all for it. God had promised to multiply them, and he needed not question the accomplishment of that promise. They were all his servants, and he needed not doubt of their loyalty and affection to him. Their number was as much his strength as he could desire. (2.) It was a dangerous thing. In doing it he might be a cause of trespass to Israel, and might provoke God against them."

Because of David's sin, a pestilence was sent (that was after David chose it from the 3 options God gave him: 3 years of famine, 3 months of war, or 3 days of pestilence) into Israel that 70,000 men died. Then God saw it and relented from the calamity, and ordered the angel to stop the pestilence. And David realized his grave sin, and cried out:

“Was it not I who gave command to number the people? It is I who have sinned and done great evil. But these sheep, what have they done? Please let your hand, O Lord my God, be against me and against my father's house. But do not let the plague be on your people.”

Gospels and Epistles: Luke 11:37–12:12

Woes to the Pharisees and Lawyers | Beware of the Leaven of the Pharisees 
Jesus was teaching us not to be like the Pharisees who was so critical with the Law, that they even criticized Jesus for not washing His hands before dinner as the Law says, but full of greed and wickedness in their hearts. It was also with the lawyers who loaded burdens to people with lots of laws but even they, themselves, would not obey those laws. Jesus was teaching not to follow their ways of hypocrisy.

Now, are you a Pharisee?

Have No Fear | Acknowledge Christ Before Men
 Here, Jesus was teaching to fear God more than to fear men. He even said:

 “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him! Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows."

© 2014 Erickson Ibana

Image can be found at

Friday, January 17, 2014

Ignite 365: A True Christian? (18 of 365)

"Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path." -Psalm 119:105

It is interesting that the Word of God is compared to a lamp. It is quite obvious that even a small flame shines the brightest in the darkest time of the night. It is living and active as well!

"For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart." -Hebrews 4:12

Psalms and Wisdom Literature: Psalm 17

In the Shadow of Your Wings
This was an another cry prayed by David. Just like the other psalms composed by David, he first poured out his emotions regarding a concern he was experiencing, the problem - his enemies surround him and would like to ambush him. He cried out that he remained holding fast on God's ways and did not wander from it. He pleaded his petition that God would hide him in the shadow of His wings. At the end of the day, he eventually praised God and renewed his faith on God.

Pentateuch and History of Israel: Genesis 18:1–15

Isaac's Birth Promised
We could remember that God already promised that a son will come out from Sarah. But since Abraham laughed when he first heard this, their son should be called Isaac (which means "he laughs"). Then at this part, Sarah heard the news again and she laughed too.

At that time, Abraham was already 99 years old, and Sarah was 90 years old. The promise was that a year from that time, a son will be born from Sarah. How many times have we been like them? The circumstances say that it is impossible, and no other human way can make it happen; and we easily lose faith. God showed in this story that in Him, nothing is impossible!

Chronicles and Prophets: 1 Chronicles 18-20
This recorded the great victories David and his men had. It must be noticed that every time David was successful in war, he would give thanks to the Lord immediately afterwards. The spoils of war was dedicated unto the Lord. And the result?

"And the Lord gave victory to David wherever he went."

Gospels and Epistles: Luke 11:1–36

The Lord's Prayer
It is interesting that Luke, the writer of this book, pointed the readers to this call after Jesus taught his disciples how to pray:

“Which of you who has a friend will go to him at midnight and say to him, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has arrived on a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he will answer from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything’? I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

It must be noticed that the attitude in being persistent in prayer is being taught by Jesus as well. How many times have we asked God for something, prayed earnestly and sought God's guidance through His Word and the counsel of godly men, and suddenly stopped praying when we sensed that God is not answering at all? Like the friend, and the son who asked for food in the above text, let us not stop in seeking God through prayer.

Jesus and Beelzebul | Return of an Unclean Spirit | True Blessedness | The Sign of Jonah
These are series of teachings of Jesus where He emphasized that the true blessed and the true followers of God are the ones who hear the Word of God and obey it.

"Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!"

It can be noticed on His statement below:

"When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.”

It is interesting that the person described here had never seen the Light in the first place. There are signs of "righteousness", but the heart was never surrendered to the Lord, along with all of its wickedness (of which should have been forsaken and repented of). As Matthew Henry commented,

"The house is garnished with common gifts and graces. It is not furnished with any true grace, but garnished with the pictures of all graces. Simon Magus was garnished with faith, Balaam with good desires, Herod with a respect for John, the Pharisees with many external performances. It is garnished, but it is like a potsherd covered with silver dross, it is all paint and varnish, not real, not lasting. The house is garnished, but the property is not altered; it was never surrendered to Christ, nor inhabited by the Spirit."

The Light in You
This is the description made by Jesus of a true follower, the mark of a true Christian that is. That a life completely surrendered unto Jesus Christ is a life of complete obedience to His Word. The Word, which is the Light, shines so bright in his life that it manifests in every thing that he does.

© 2014 Erickson Ibana

Image can be found at