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Health & Wealth: Moving forward or backward

As a columnist and active Evangelist, I would like to share to our readers the message I delivered at the GOLDEN GATE CHURCH OF CHRIST during the Worship Services last Sunday May, 12, 2024, at 701-8th Avenue (near Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate Park), San Francisco, California USA.

GREETINGS & INTRODUCTION: Good morning and HAPPY MOVING FORWARD SUNDAY!  Happy Mothers Day also to all the mothers. I would like to thank brother James Quitoriano for scheduling me  to preach this morning to commemorate our 50th Wedding Anniversary. I would like also to express my thanks and appreciation to those who responded to my personal invitation to join our Worship Services this morning to hear the message MOVING FORWARD OR BACKWARD?

 I know that Pol Medios was preparing to come but can’t make it due to health issues but he sent Lisa and Mark to be with us. We also have Brittany and Steven who drove all the way from Fresno, California and my sisters Josie M. Lewis and Luzviminda G. Madlaing who drove from Bethel Island, California. Let me thank also brother Renato Marcos for  leading  the selected songs and brother Dennis Chin for the Scripture Reading  and all of you who are here and those online like sister Clarita Acasio in Danville, California and sister Claire Paulson In Louisiana to hear the message  MOVING FORWARD OR BACKWARD?

God expects every Christian to move forward and be fruitful. How do we move forward and be fruitful?  There are many ways we ca do to move forward but with the allotted time, I would like to share three ways we can do to move forward as exemplified by Ruth.

1.    First, GET OUT FROM YOUR COMFORT ZONE –  The book of Ruth illustrates the difference between those who step out in faith and take risks and those who give in to fear, play it safe and miss God’s best for them. The book begins with these words: “There was a famine in the land. And a certain man of Bethlehem, Judah went to dwell in the country of Moab, he and his wife Naomi and his two sons (v 1 NKJV). Things went well for a while and then tragedy struck. First, Naomi’s husband Elimelech died, and she was left with her two sons, who married local girls named  Orpah and Ruth, then the sons died. Overwhelmed with grief, Naomi decides to return to Bethlehem and advises her two daughters-in-law  to stay in Moab and hopefully find husbands and raise families. This is where the difference shows up in the two girls. Orpah decided to stay in Moab even though it was a place of heartache and hard times. WHY? Because it’s the place she knew, it was her comfort zone. Orpah didn’t have the faith to move forward.

Ruth was different. She was ready to get out from her comfort zone and have the faith to move forward. The rest of Ruth’s life in the Old Testament is part of biblical history.

I had a very comfortable and stable job as Assistant  Regional Information Officer with the Bureau of Forestry in Dagupan City, Philippines when I decided to follow and be with my wife initially in Woodland, California on August 17, 1975. For survival, I had to work long hours in the fields sorting tomatoes at $2.25 per hour. I could have easily gone back to my comfortable job in the Philippines as I was being selected to replace the retiring Regional Information Officer but I sacrificed and persevered because I had the faith to move forward with my wife. Through God’s protection and providence, I eventually got my Real Estate Broker license and accreditation and commission as Notary Public. The rest is history…. . . .Brother Steven Prine got out from the comfort of his home in America and travelled to a third-world country like the Philippines to share the gospel annually since 2012. You heard his uplifting message last Sunday on the Power of the gospel and updates on the WE CARE Evangelism Campaign & Workshop in Luzon, Visayas and Mindaao, Philippines resulting in hundreds and thousands of conversions and baptisms)

2.    Second, WALK BY FAITH AND NOT BY FEAR – The second way to move forward is to WALK BY FAITH AND NOT BY FEAR. Orpah walked by fear and went back.  With obedient faith, Ruth moved forward. Here’s what she said to Naomi: “Where you go, I will go, and where you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” (Ruth 1:16 ,NIV)

Ruth walked by FAITH and not by FEAR  and never dwelt on the past tragedies like hard times and death of her husband. She relied completely on God’s protection and providence.  WE can’t move forward if we dwell on the past.

When I followed my beloved wife here in California, I walked by FAITH and not by FEAR. Like the words of Ruth to her mother-in-law Naomi, I committed and said to my beloved wife: “Where you go I will go; where you stay, I will stay; your people will be my people and your God my God.” God blessed our marriage that we just celebrated our 50th Wedding Anniversary last Sunday. May 5, 2024, Cinco de Mayo  . . . . When brother Steven Prine, his wife Angela Prine, my wife Virginia Jimenez Madlaing and I first started the WE CARE Evangelism Campaign & Workshop in February 2012, we walked by FAITH and not by FEAR.

 We asked both brother John Quinones and sister Fely Quiniones to prepare the way for us. We thought that our evangelism campaign & workshop will just be in the province of Pangasinan Baguio City  and vicinities in the big island of Luzon. With our collective prayers, God has blessed the annual WE CARE Evangelism Campaign & Workshop exceedingly as mentioned by our sister Rose de la Cruz in our Tuesday online PRAYER Session. It’s NOW expanding to the Visayas and Mindanao as reported and updated by brother Steven Prine last Sunday. About  5,000 precious  souls (and counting) obeyed the gospel in baptism since 2012. (Watch & Read Part 2 next week).

(ART GABOT MADLAING is accredited and commissioned Notary Public and licensed Real Estate Broker in California since 1981. He is founder of MOBILE SIGNING SERVIVES, FITNESS FOR HUMANITY (aka FITNESS FOR CHRIST) and ACAPINOY. Art is an active Evangelist with the GOLDEN GATE CHURCH OF CHRIST in San Francisco, California USA. He can be reached at (650) 438-3531 or (415) 584-7095 or email:artmadlaing@hotmail.com)

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