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Awaiting the First Light of Dawn by Nigel Ong

As of this writing: our nation has been logging five-digit daily COVID-19 reported cases for close to two weeks now, posting multiple record-highs in a single week’s span; hospitals remain full, with our healthcare workers weary, exhausted, and dejected; what used to be mere figures of deaths and reports of hospitalization have now taken on names and faces, with our own friends and relatives falling victim to this dreaded disease; our economy is in shambles, with many unemployed and many more underemployed; and not to mention the extremely abnormal circumstances our children are growing under. We all feel a spirit of gloom, fear, and uncertainty lurking in the atmosphere. We all wish the normal days would come back, but the hard reality is that we really do not know. And, if or when life does, the price paid has been undeniably steep. The plethora of grim news headlines, coupled with the unprecedented uncertainty of our future in this life begs the groaning thought, “Will life, as we’d known it, return? And until it does, if at all, how can we brace ourselves against the raging roar of this tumultuous tempest?”

At a low point in my own life emotionally some years back, when the vigor for life was running close to empty, I vividly remember my spiritual dad succinctly telling me that, what gives a person the will to go on, to fight amidst the dreariness of the day and the long stretches of the dark nights of our souls is: HOPE – hope that one day things will be better, that one day the pain that crushes us under its weight shall be lifted, that one day we will be able to rise and laugh again. And the more I thought of it, the more I saw this truth painted across our lives. Back in my elementary days, as a conscientious student, the nagging alarm on an early Monday morning signified a long week of unwelcome academic obligations to fulfill, and whether I wanted to or not, I had to get out of bed and face the week. But what consoled me in those moments was that: while a potentially stressful week lay ahead of me, the sweet sound of the dismissal bell on Friday afternoon was also inching closer with every passing second. The same could be said of my sentiment towards the flip of the calendar to the first week of June, marking the end of summer and the onset of classes. I would count down the months to March, the signal that summer vacation was right around the corner. Isn’t this the case, as well, in our periods of physical illness? Doesn’t the prospect of being well and healthy again, however long it should take, sustain us in the helplessness of our weak state? Such is the power of hope. Not only do we want to have hope in this life, we need hope if we are to make it to the end of our journey. And the good news is that the hope we have, to face everything in this life is infinitely more stable and certain than the prospect of a two-month summer vacation, or a physical restoration, only to remain susceptible to the next potential infection.

My readings recently brought me to the long (and frankly, depressing) Book of Jeremiah. Vivid warnings of the LORD’s impending judgment against unfaithful Israel, and her eventual fall pervade the chapters of the Book. And despite the prophet’s determined call for reform and repentance, the nation dug in its adulterous heels, mocking, ignoring Jeremiah’s cries, even persecuting and threatening the prophet’s life. Having filled her iniquities to the brim, Israel now stood under the ominous darkness of GOD’s holy judgment: Nebuchadnezzar’s siege finally broke through what once seemed to be Jerusalem’s impenetrable walls; the incumbent King Zedekiah abdicated his throne, running for dear life, only to be outrun by Babylon’s chasing forces, captured, and eyes put out, but not before witnessing as his last visual memory the execution of his royal court and sons, then chained for the rest of his days in Babylon’s prison; the Jews who opposed Babylon were put to the sword, and those who surrendered exiled to a distant land foreign to them, leaving behind only a minority of indigents to care for what little remained in a ransacked city; and most horrifying of all, the Temple that marked the enduring Presence and favor of the LORD, was stripped bare, then burned to the ground: the GLORY of Israel had departed. (Jeremiah 39:1-10; 52:1-30)

If there was a period of unparalleled despair in Israel hitherto, it was this: the fall of Jerusalem, under Babylon’s tyranny. YET (what a sweet word, in the midst of the onslaught), Israel would not be done away with completely. For in the same Book, replete with warnings of judgment, lay interspersed promises of restoration. Yes, the judgment proved inevitable, but so did the promise of redemption. The Word of the LORD spoken through Jeremiah gave hope for: a future return for the exiles (29:10; 33:6-13); a day of reckoning for all of Israel’s enemies, with Babylon receiving the lengthiest verdict (46-51); and Israel’s root problem of recurring unfaithfulness being fully addressed, as the LORD promised to establish a new covenant with HIS people – to give them a new heart, betrothing them to HIMSELF forever (31:31-34). The remnant of Israel would have to endure the fire, but not without the consolation of GOD’s Word. HE would personally usher HIS people into a glorious future. But what about their present season of suffering?

The final section of the Book’s summary and conclusion brings the setting to Babylon, the distant land of exile, and home of Israel’s nightmare. But the scene is not of woe; on the contrary, we find King Jehoiachin, the son of Jehoiakim, of King David’s line, and predecessor of Zedekiah (the last king), though exiled in Babylon with his fellow Jews, finding favor before the new Babylonian king, who graciously released him from prison and seated him at the king’s table, with a regular allowance for the rest of his days (52:31-34). The LORD had not forgotten HIS promise to King David (33:14-26), though for an extended season it appeared otherwise. When everything seemed lost, the LORD saw to it that the light of Israel would remain aglow; hope lived on. The LORD, while gloriously and powerfully present in Israel’s post-exilic, future restoration, was just as actively present in Israel’s current exile. In fact, the LORD gave a most counterintuitive of instructions to the Jews in exile, “Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare” (29:5-7). While awaiting her glorious future restoration (29:10), Israel was called not to despise her present lot, but to live in it. Life would have to go on. And Israel needed to find her place and calling in it: still to be a blessing to the nations, albeit in a most peculiar situation, to her very captors. And to eliminate every shadow of doubt, the LORD spoke in this very situation what has come to be one of Scripture’s most oft-quoted Passages, “‘For I know the plans I have for you’, declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.’” (29:11)

The parallels to our day are only too evident. We, Christians, are a people of the future; our best life is yet to come. I recall a tweet I came across awhile back (paraphrased): “This life, with its share of pleasure and pain, is the worst that life can possibly be for the Christian, in the spectrum of eternity.” A Scriptural basis and equivalent would be the Apostle Paul’s exhortation to the Romans, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18). And he went on to say, “…we wait eagerly for adoptions as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we are saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience” (vv.23-25). The full measure of our future hope’s glory awaits us in eternity, but its power is uncontainable, it breaks through eternity, gushing over into our present lives – to grant the believer strength to keep the faith. Like my favorite renowned pastor put it, “…hope beyond the grave is present hope. The object of hope is future. The experience of hope is present. And that present experience is powerful. Hope is power. Present power.”

Give thanks to the LORD of hosts, for the LORD is good, for HIS steadfast love endures forever.” (Jeremiah 33:11)

Jeremiah prophesied the redeemed singing this song, on their way to the house of the LORD with their thank offerings, after returning from exile. Time poses no hindrance to the ANCIENT OF DAYS; the cumulative forces of world powers across the ages stand no match against the SOVEREIGN GOD of all nations; our GOD OF PROVIDENCE utilizes every atom surrounding our every moment to achieve HIS every good pleasure in us, for us, and through us; the ROCK OF AGES beckons every needy soul to stand upon this solid ground, to anchor our lives upon the infallibility of HIS strength; the GOOD SHEPHERD of HIS sheep does not merely wait for us at the end of the line, rather, HE walks with us, writhes with us, and hides us under the everlasting Arms. One of my favorite hymns writes, “When years of time shall pass away, and earthly thrones and kingdoms fall…GOD’s love so sure shall still endure, all measureless and strong…it shall forevermore endure the saints’ and angels’ song.” So we dare to believe in the enduring goodness of our LORD in our present lot, however HE pleases to express HIS unfathomable ways. For though the darkness be pitch black, the steadfast love of our GOD, in CHRIST JESUS our LORD, will hold us together until the first rays of morning dawn over the horizon.

If you would like to know more on how you and your church can benefit by starting a Bible Education Program in your church through I.B.I. (International Bible Institute of London). Please call us at Telephone No.: (+63 32) 262 7455 or send us an email: [email protected]


By Michael Eparwa

“The work of preaching is the highest and greatest and most glorious calling to which anyone could ever be called” – Martyn Lloyd Jones

It has been one of the longest modules that I have learned throughout my study in IBI and yet one of the most interesting for me. It speaks of volumes of finesse in terms putting everything that we have learned into action or shall we say in paper. 

A lot of us may have the knowledge about a lot of biblical facts but putting them in the right outline and choosing the right way of doing it whether its topical, textual, or expositional preaching, has truly been a challenge. A lot of the do’s and don’ts’ have awakened me to some of the things that I thought was negligible when it comes to teaching and preaching the word of God.  It was indeed very excruciating pulling out those bad habits and quite relieving in putting on the new skills that I have acquired in this module. Indeed, learning is a process but a process that must be well embraced for us to be renewed. 

Expository preaching intrigued me the most, because this is basically how the apostles and the first teachers and preachers have taught the word of God, although this art has been lost somewhere in transition but it has been revived quite on time where false teachings are quite rampant. Grabbing this tool in doing my preaching moving forward have made me more aware with a lot more than just choosing a topic to preach. It allowed me to ponder on what the congregation needs to hear at that very moment. After all we are not there to teach and preach to exalt ourselves but exalt God and Christ and in every detail of it all. As Charles Spurgeon would say:

“Of all I would wish to say this is the sum; my brethren, preach Christ, always and evermore!” -Charles Spurgeon

If you would like to know more on how you and your church can benefit by starting a Bible Education Program in your church through I.B.I. (International Bible Institute of London). Please call us at Telephone No.: (+63 32) 262 7455 or send us an email: [email protected]

A Look at Church History: Reflections on CH305 by Nicole Cang Chua

Church History is a broad subject.  Christianity has been around the last two millennia and I was curious how my chosen faith came to be what it is now.  A two thousand-year timeline compressed into twelve sessions of study is no mean feat.  International Bible Institute (IBI)’s Church History course CH305 puts it in a neatly-packed nutshell, giving a novice learner like me a clear and far-ranging bird’s-eye view.

CH305 divides Church History into six sections: The Christian Church was birthed in an Upper Room by the disciples of Jesus Christ after His death and resurrection (Apostolic Church).  It endured untold suffering under Roman rule (Persecuted Church), then became the most powerful political entity (Imperial and Medieval Church).  Rife with corruption and abuses, the system was revamped by the faithful learned (Reformed Church).  Schools of thought, both sane and contentious, later emerged and continue to establish themselves (Modern Church).

I learned much from these history lessons.  There are delightful as well as sobering facts.  For one, how supposedly renowned men of God dealt with unbelievers with unspeakable cruelty.  How could they??  These were Church Fathers whom we admire today and whose teachings we follow almost as dogma.  But as our teacher Pastor Mel Caparros succinctly put it, “They were children of their times.” (Note to self: Always look to Jesus, not man, as role model).  Then there were the Children’s Crusades organized in the name of religion.  This to me was the most vile and offensive.  But let us not dwell on the macabre, for the good far outweighs the bad.  Programs for the believers such as doctrinal studies, missions, prayer meetings, Bible camps, Sunday school flourished and helped serious seekers of the Lord grow in their faith.  With genuine repentance came massive-scale revivals at different points in time.  Furthermore, the Church helped counter social ills by establishing orphanages, prison reform, charities for the down-and-out, and the like.  It worked hard towards a kinder and more humane society.

Over the centuries, Christianity has been violently assailed and opposed—from the colosseums of ancient Rome where believers were martyred, to modern-day classrooms where atheism is espoused.  Time and again and again, the Enemy sounded the call to “steal, kill and destroy.”  Yet men and women of God stood their ground and fought for their faith.  To them I owe a debt of gratitude for my own faith.  Never has one Body encountered so much opposition.  Among all religions, I ask, why Christianity?  Because it is TRUTH.  And why, after all the opposition, does it still stand today?  Because “Jesus Christ Himself is its Chief Cornerstone.” (Ephesians 2:20), hence, “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18).

Ultimately, the story of the Christian Church is the story of Jesus Christ.  The Church continues for as long as the Lord tarries.  The saints patiently await.  We all await.  When the Day finally comes, there will be a joyous culmination.  For then it will be the Church Victorious, headed by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, enthroned for all eternity!  To Him be the glory now and forevermore.

If you would like to know more on how you and your church can benefit by starting a Bible Education Program in your church through I.B.I. (International Bible Institute of London). Please call us at Telephone No.: (+63 32) 262 7455 or send us an email: [email protected]

Discovering The Unfathomable Riches of God’s Word By: Tulip Anne Redulla-Agcaoili

It’s been about fourteen years since i accepted Christ in my life. God has been faithful and has been working tremendously in my life, showing me many great opportunities to serve Him. My husband and i have been serving the Couples Ministry for quite some time already, discipling other couples.

Early this year, i was encouraged by Sis. Marie Caparros to enroll in IBI, in the GD-301 course in particular. I was very hesitant at first because i wasnt sure if i could do it considering my job and other responsibilities at home. I prayed about it and decided to give it a try.

GD-301 was the first IBI course that i had ever taken. Although i have gained many new insights, broadened my knowledge, re-examined my beliefs, i feel that there is still so much to know and to learn. The most important thing i learned was that the Bible is not just a book of rules by which we live. It is a revelation —-the revealed Word of God where He tells us that He exists and that He is with us.

As i journeyd through each lesson, the Bible and its teachings have become more personal to me. God, through the Holy Spirit, revealed Himself to me as i studied our lessons and attended our weekly classes. These new insights have made a profound impact on my life and will continue to do so in the future. I am so very grateful for this blessed opportunity and am looking forward to learning more from the next course.

If you would like to know more on how you and your church can benefit by starting a Bible Education Program in your church through I.B.I. (International Bible Institute of London). Please call us at Telephone No.: (+63 32) 262 7455 or send us an email: [email protected]


“Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; He is the Faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commands.” – Deuteronomy 7:9

This verse was the theme of our outreach in Hongkong as they celebrated 15 years of the LORD’s grace and faithfulness. It was held last September 10, 2017. We had our dear Senior Pastor, Ptr.Mel Caparros, as the guest speaker. Our church in Hongkong, with Sis.Lyn Quiambao as the overseer, is a thriving one. By the grace of God, this church is continually standing and growing. Praises and thanks be unto our Faithful God who remains true to His Word and to His promises! It is purely grace to have been given the privilege to witness God’s sustaining grace and tremendous power upon His children. Most of the members there were Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who, by God’s grace, were truly united and committed to what God has entrusted unto them. The LORD allowed us to see the wonderful picture of the Sabbath — how the brethren there put a high regard for Sundays. For them, Sundays are always special. It’s the only time that they can gather as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ and worship the LORD, the Great I Am, in one accord. They usually have their service on a Sunday morning, and in the afternoon, they’re out on the streets of Hongkong sharing the glorious Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. But during the anniversary celebration, Evangelism was done early in the morning with those who were invited.

During the preaching of the Word, Ptr.Mel shared from Psalms 119:25-32 entitled “Prescription for Depression.” This is very timely especially most of the members there were separated from their loved ones who were left in the Philippines. This Word truly encouraged every heart and reminded us of the hope that we have in Jesus. Indeed, Christ Himself is our Living Hope. As what Ptr.Mel said, “Go to the Word of God and you will find strength.”

After lunch, we were once again exhorted by God’s Word. After the exhortation, we break into groups — Worship Team, Biblical Counseling Session, and with the Singles and Married ones. We truly had a great and blessed time basking in the LORD’s presence and immersing ourselves in His precious Word. It was a great time of encouraging and praying for one another. Oh the power of Prayer and the Word of God! The infilling of the Holy Spirit was very refreshing!

We are truly blessed beyond measure to have met these people with various stories to tell yet with the same foundation, Firm Foundation — the LORD Jesus Christ. This church reflects the beautiful picture of the fellowship of the believers that was being described in the Book of Acts (see Acts 2:42-47). We were shown great hospitality, love, care, and lavish generosity by these selfless saints of Christ whom He continually upholds in His righteous right hand.

Dear brethren, let us hold in prayer our outreach in Hongkong. That as our brothers and sisters continue to run the race, may they truly fix their gaze on Jesus, the Author and the Perfecter of our faith. That they will be strong in the grace that is in Christ. That what they heard, they will keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. That they may guard the good deposit that was entrusted to them — to guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us (2 Timothy 1:13-14).

How humbling it is to witness God’s glorious work in Hongkong. Church, take heart! Our God is Faithful to finish what He has started. He has been Faithful. He is still Faithful. He will always be Faithful. We can rest in His Great Faithfulness — ALWAYS!

“Being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 1:6

“To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy — to the Only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen!”

– Jude 24-25

If you would like to know more on how you and your church can benefit by starting a Bible Education Program in your church through I.B.I. (International Bible Institute of London). Please call us at Telephone No.: (+63 32) 262 7455 or send us an email: [email protected]

MY JOURNEY WITH IBI By: Mylene S. Chavez

Studying a new degree is not a walk in the park. One should consider the expenses that come along with it as well as the time and effort needed to complete it. But the benefits of completing the IBI course outweigh those drawbacks. These benefits indeed gave me a hand in my walk with the Lord.

My journey with IBI started way back 2014. I started with OT 101 under Pastor Mel. It was quite a big class and had some students with different nationalities. Nevertheless, the class was thought provoking. Since then, whatever IBI courses were offered that I can take, I enrolled them. There were even some instances that I took two or three courses at the same time. I’m living and working in Mactan, so I had to travel several times a week to LWCCCI Banawa to attend my classes. It was challenging but it’s more than worth it. It was around the first quarter of this year, 2017, that Ms. April informed me of the possibility of graduating this August if I become correspondent with my remaining New Testament courses. And so I took her suggestion.

One of the classes that influenced me is Church History. I never really liked history, but this class changed my perspective. It made me aware of the importance of the events in the past for me, in the present, to stand steadfastly in my faith. It gave me better understanding and inspired me to persevere. The same goes for the Old Testament books. The books could be arduous to read, outdated, full of rituals that I thought I can’t relate to. I used to ask myself why God would annihilate a whole race including their livestock and not only the able men. Is our God that brutal and cold-hearted? But I was greatly mistaken. God has a plan. I may not understand it but it’s the best plan there is. This is also true for me. There are times that I neither agree nor understand the situation that I’m in. So the best thing I could do is to pray and ask God if this is His plan for me. And if it is, then I have to follow because I’ve learned that no matter how inconsistent I could be, the Lord is forever faithful. Another class that caught my attention is the Personal Evangelism. There’s no such thing as the “special time” to share the gospel, I have to be ready all the time. I don’t need to memorize the whole Bible or be a scholar to tell the gospel. I used to be so reluctant because of so many “what ifs”. But now I’m more confident to do it. After all it’s not about me, but the Holy Spirit working within me, so I must have faith. 

 I can say that my classes truly helped me in my walk with the Lord and I’m so grateful for that. I just pray that whatever I’ve learned will not remain as head knowledge but they may be put into practice more and more that God may be glorified.

If you would like to know more on how you and your church can benefit by starting a Bible Education Program in your church through I.B.I. (International Bible Institute of London). Please call us at Telephone No.: (+63 32) 262 7455 or send us an email: [email protected]