“And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a Man stood opposite him with His sword drawn in His hand. And Joshua went to Him and said to Him, “[Are] You for us or for our adversaries?” So He said, “No, but [as] Commander of the army of the LORD I have now come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?” Then the Commander of the LORD’s army said to Joshua, “Take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand [is] holy.” And Joshua did so.” – Joshua 5:13-15
Last July 17, The Lagro United Methodist Youth Fellowship with the leadership of its president Karen Hernandez has had this year’s “Student Reception”. Every year, during the opening of the school, we hold this activity in church to welcome young students to impart spiritual guidance and exhortation as they face the day to day challenges of being a student. This year’s theme is “Shout Out”.
The speaker for the occasion is Rev. Bong Mangubat, associate pastor of Puno United Methodist Church. His sermon has dealt with the “Three Principles for Spiritual Victory”. Even young people experience problems in their lives and those come in different forms and magnitude. It is crucial for young people who are starting to explore life to understand these three principles because these can guide them to understand how they can achieve their goals with God at the center of their lives.
1. Know who is in charge- It is important to realize who “call the shots” in our life. Do our desires reign supreme over the principles of God? When we encounter conflicts between those that what we want and what is pleasing to God, which side prevails? If God is in charge of our lives, we accede to His commands. Sometimes, it is difficult to let go of some enjoyment, friendships or conveniences but when faith is at stake, we should learn to obey. Making God in charge of our life is not giving up our options but putting our life in safe hands.
2. God’s methods are not man’s methods but they are always right- Normally, young people are aggressive and impulsive. Consequently, they fall into the bait of leaning on their own knowledge as they enjoy their new found liberties. All of us need to understand that we cannot lean on our own understanding because we are imperfect people but we can always trust God’s ways because He never makes mistakes. God’s methods are clean and guilt free. In man’s eyes, they are not easy often difficult but for a Christian believer, they always lead to fruitful results.
3. The best way to hear from God is to be quiet- The most important privilege of Christians is the direct access to the Almighty God. Prayer gives strength to us whenever we feel weary and discouraged. However, prayer is a two-way communication. Often, we are the one talking and we talk too much. Sometimes, while we do worship Him, yet we present a very long list of requests. It is not wrong to depend on God in fact it pleases Him but we also need to have quiet moments in prayer so we could let God speak to us in a very special way.
If we can observe these three principles in our lives, we can expect spiritual victory in our life. The road toward our goals will not be easy but with God’s guidance, we can get there safe and sound.
Student Reception- July 17, 2011, Lagro United Methodist Church, Group Dynamics: Bro Jay-Ar, Praise and Worship: Matthew 5:16 (Praise Team) Message condensed from the sermon of Rev Bong Mangubat of Puno UMC