AUDEE VILLARAZA: I love this— every Sunday, we get to be here at The. Feast because when you think about it, I mean, we can come together in spite of our differences, in spite of our different preferences in life, and really just embrace one another and accept that the persons sitting next to you might not have the same surname, might not have the same blood running through their veins, but you accept them because they are children of God. And so, we praise the Lord that He brings us together, we are under the banner of the Name of Jesus.

I want to give you our big message for today and if it’s okay, like I always say, I want you to preach this to as many people as you can.

Friend, Embrace Who You Are.

This is a personal message that I hope will bless you today.

I have a question. Answer me honestly: Do you like who you are?

Like, really like who you are. Because I know there are three types of people:

1. The first type is the group composed of those who like themselves but sometimes there are some aspects that they don’t like about We’re all like that. That’s the normal person— balanced.

2. But there are also those on the second spectrum— those who are just so madly in love with themselves— love to the max.

Yung tipong, “Gusto ko sanang mag-absent sa trabaho, gusto ko sanang mag- absent sa eskwelahan. Kaso, paano naman yung mga pumasok para lang makita ako?— I’d like to be absent from work. I’d like to be absent from school. But how about those who just came to see me?

That level. So in love, believing in themselves, so thinking they are so beautiful. Like, there’s a commotion in one corner—you go find out what’s happening, and you realize your ID fell and people are scrambling to possess it! That level.

3. But then on the opposite spectrum, the third type is the group composed of those who don’t like They see so many aspects that are wrong— with the way they look, the way they talk, the way they dress, the way they are.

They always find something to complain about— they just don’t like themselves.

Lessons About Loving Yourself

Here is the first lesson. I hope you can take it home today: Unless you fully embrace who you are in God’s eyes, you will never be happy. You will never be truly happy if you don’t embrace who you are in God’s eyes.

That’s why, you know, if there’s a person in your life— or maybe that’s even you— but if it’s a friend, a family member, a co-worker you know who needs to know this message about loving who they are in God’s eyes, please tag their names right now. Do us a favor and get this message out to somebody who needs encouragement today.

Our goal today is very simple. My prayer and declaration are that at the end of this talk, you will walk out of this place completely accepting who you are in God’s eyes, embracing that, and walking in that encouragement.

But just a quick recap…

We are in the new series called Special Delivery. We are studying the book of Exodus. It’s a beautiful book and I hope that you can journey with us. We are in this part of Exodus Chapter 2.

Last Sunday (September 25, 2022) Didoy Lubaton talked about where Genesis ended– with Joseph. The Israelites experienced prosperity under the leadership of Joseph. But what happened was that over time, people forgot about Joseph and his family. And then the new Pharaoh was now oppressing the Israelites and so all of a sudden, they found themselves being oppressed — slaves once again in Egypt.

So, this is where we find ourselves in the story today, Exodus Chapter 2. And you are going to realize this:

The Pharaoh felt so threatened by the Israelites. Why? Because they were growing in number. They weren’t practicing family planning.:)

So, the Pharaoh was so afraid that one day the Israelites would replace all of the Egyptians. So, he came up with a decree— and check this out—that every Hebrew child would be thrown into the Nile River— they would be drowned.

Here’s the lesson: Throughout history, you will find this— that whenever leaders are insecure, you know what they do? They start bullying people. They start bullying especially the ones who are weakest. And in this case, the babies.

Do you know some insecure leaders? Maybe you’ve got one in your company? Maybe you’ve got one in your organization? Maybe you’ve got one in your family? Or, get this: Maybe you’ve got one you see every day in your mirror?

I cannot be blind to this message. And I’ve got to tell you this: Sometimes, I’m like that. Sometimes, when my pride is hurt, I lash out— even at people

I serve, or people I need to take care of.

Because when leaders are insecure, they are very dangerous. When their pride is threatened, they become irrational.

When you are threatened, you become unlike-Christ.

So, what I hope is that today, you will walk out of this room completely realizing God’s message for you— that you don’t become an insecure leader.

And we’re going to learn today, for the first time, about somebody God would use to defeat one of the biggest bullies of his time. This is the guy God used to deliver an entire nation out of slavery. His name is Moses.

So, let’s turn to Exodus Chapter 2.

What we’re going to do is unpack the verses line by line. And then, we hope we learn four messages from these verses.

So, let’s go to Exodus 2: 1-2: I want to pause here for a moment.

I like that part: special baby.

Because when I was reading that, I was like, “Why in the world would you have to put that word special to describe the baby? Because, after all, aren’t all babies special? The author was very particular about saying special baby.

When you realize who wrote that passage, it’s going to be funny to you. Didoy kind of hinted at this last Sunday when he said the first five books of the Old Testament were called the Pentateuch. The Jews called them the Torah.

To them, the five books were the most authoritative instructions and they followed the instructions up to the last letter.

But get this: Tradition says that the first five books— Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy were written by one person: Moses.

Although some Bible scholars, Bible experts, would say that it wasn’t exactly Moses but people who came after—like a thousand years after Moses’s time, who compiled his oral work. But if we follow the belief that Moses wrote the books, wouldn’t it be funny? That Moses was writing about himself and then he called himself special? Was Moses trying to put himself on a pedestal?

This reminded me of this fashion designer by the name of Marc Jacobs. He’s an American designer. Whenever you buy his clothes, you’ll see this tag: Jacobs by Marc Jacobs— For Marc by Marc Jacobs— In collaboration with Marc Jacobs for Marc by Marc Jacobs.

So in love with his name!

Was that what was happening in this passage? What was the message of the author here? I think whether or not Moses actually wrote that passage, I think that’s not important anymore to us. Because what’s important is as we’re reading it and we’re seeing “special baby.”

I believe the author is trying to tell us this: It’s not boastfulness when you acknowledge that God is in you. That you are good because God is in you. Because it’s not about you. It’s about God. It’s about the goodness that He has in you.

Question: When was the last time you actually celebrated the goodness of God in you?

I’m not talking about looking at yourself in the mirror and then really appreciating how you look… I’m talking about sitting down and thinking about in the middle of all your weaknesses, your failures, and your imperfections, you can say, “God sees goodness in me.”

Have you ever celebrated that? I think a lot of people forget. I believe that some people don’t even know because some people have never really heard that… They grew up in an environment where they were called names: Bobo— Dumb; Tamad— Lazy; Buwisit— Annoying, Bad Luck; Walang Kwenta— Good for nothing.

So, we grew up with all these titles and labels. So, nobody ever told you that you are good because God made you good. Or sometimes, we forget— because we’re influenced by the world. And sometimes, the people we hang out with are bad influences and so, we get influenced by them, and we forget that there’s goodness in us.

But the moment you absorb and digest this message, then hey, there’s actually goodness in you. Can you imagine the kind of potential that you can unlock every day when you know that God created you to be good, in His own goodness, in His own image and likeness? You would go out into the world to be an unstoppable force of goodness. It’s time that you know that. There’s goodness in you. And it’s time you unleash it to the world.

Here’s the second message:

You can trust God because He is consistent.

Let’s continue:

If you are somebody who loves finding connections, you’re going to love this passage because it’s full of hyperlinks. Remember last Sunday, Didoy said Exodus is just really a continuation of Genesis. That’s why every book in the first five books of the Bible started with the word and. Because the books were intersecting story after story. So, the books were just complementing one another.

I will give you one hyperlink. The verse (above) says that when the mother of Moses could no longer hide him, she got a papyrus basket.

In the original Hebrew language, the word used was not actually basket. Baby Moses was not placed in a literal basket. But the word used (for where Moses was placed) was the same word –get this—that the author used when describing the ark that Noah rode on.

So, you see the connection Noah-Moses. What was the author trying to say?

To the readers back then, they were remembering… the vehicle that was used to rescue Noah, is now the same vehicle being used to rescue Moses.

God used an ark to spare both Noah and Moses from a watery death.

Bible scholars also believe that the method the mom of Moses used to waterproof his mini-ark was the same method Noah used to waterproof his ark.

There’s a second hyperlink. The second hyperlink happened when the mom of Moses placed the child in the mini-ark and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. If you read the passages before this, you will not find the word reeds anywhere. You know where you’re going to find it? You’ll find it 15 chapters later. When? The time when the Israelites would come across the Red Sea, and God would use the Red Sea to rescue them.

Now, what’s the point of view of the author?

God rescued Noah. Where? In the past, right? You remember? Now God is rescuing Moses in the present. But that’s not all. God will rescue the Israelites in the future.

If there’s anything that you can learn from this passage, it’s this: You can trust God. Why? Because He is consistent.   God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow.

You can say: “I don’t have to be afraid, Lord. Why? Because I know You rescued me in the past, and whatever problem I have right now – whatever struggles I’m carrying, I know God will rescue me in this present moment.

And God will continue to rescue me.”

It’s the process of transformation and sanctification: God saved me. God is saving me. God will continue to save me. That’s so beautiful.

But you know the problem with us, my friends, is we forget. We have amnesia. Because we have various problems.

Before, you had financial debt. But God rescued you from financial debt.

Now my problem is health. And you forgot that God rescued you from that financial debt. Then God rescued you from your health problem. Now your problem is brokenness–relationship problems. You forget that along the way God has been blessing you.

We forget because we have trust issues.

When you apply to a company for a job, what is the thing that they ask from you? A resume, right? A resume is nothing more but a list of accomplishments – a list of the things that you’ve done, a list of the accolades, the jobs that you’ve done.

You know what? I have another word for resume. I call it a track record.

So, if you have trouble trusting God, you know what you need to do?

You need to take a look at His track record.

Has God been faithful to you? Because if He’d been faithful to you, why won’t He be faithful to you now? Sometimes with your amnesia, you forget.

King David said something when he was still a shepherd. He wasn’t even a king yet. David had been in some battles in his life. He fought with a bear and won. He fought with a lion and won. And now, he’s in front of this giant called Goliath. You know what he said?

He says, “The same God who rescued me from the paw of the bear, from the paw of the lion, will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine. “

What was David doing? He was remembering the track record of God… My good friend Victor gave me this book just now when he was about to enter the room. It’s titled Life Is Messy. And I agree with the author of this book. But you know what I realized about mess is this: My wife is a baker. She’s a fantastic baker. She’s a fantastic cook. And you know what whenever I see the kitchen messy, I love it. Why? Because it tells me that she’s preparing something good for the family.

Sometimes, we see the mess from what it truly is. But we don’t see it from God’s perspective– that messes are just miracles in the making. They are just miracles waiting to happen. So, the next time you come upon messes in your life, my friend, believe that God is cooking something good for you. Because God’s plan is amazing, right?

I believe that you need to trust God because I believe if you can trust God over anything, you really can triumph over everything.

Here’s the third message.: With God, nothing is impossible.

So here’s what happens next:

You probably remember this scene in The Ten Commandments – if you saw that film. The Princess is minding her own business and all of a sudden, she sees this basket flowing toward her. She wonders what’s inside the basket, she opens it, and she sees a baby—crying.

She says, “It must be one of the Hebrew babies.”

And she says, “Let’s take care of him.”

So, at the suggestion of the baby’s sister, his mother was called to take care of the baby and she nursed him.

And you know the rest of the story. Moses grows up as royalty in Egypt.

The reason I love this passage so much—and I hope you will receive this the way I did this week—is this: it had been a long time since the Israelites experienced prosperity in their land– because remember that the new Pharaoh replaced the old Pharaoh. And the new Pharaoh was very insecure.

He was demanding a lot of things from the Israelites. They were suffering under the leadership of this Pharaoh. It had been a long time since they saw Joseph, one of their own, rising through the ranks. So, you can say that they had not experienced a miracle for so long.

Sometimes, it happens in your life– where you feel like the last miracle that you experienced was many years ago– decades. And God is not doing something in your life.

But I want you to know this: Just when the Israelites thought that God was done doing miracles, God does something.

And what I want you to know is that just because you don’t see something moving, it doesn’t mean that God is not working in your life. Sometimes, God is already orchestrating a blessing for you but because you don’t see it, you don’t see how He works in the background.

But I’m going to show you something. Remember how God used Joseph to save Egypt—from famine, from hunger? He turned this lowly slave from being a prisoner to a governor. Only God could do that. That was a miracle.

The Israelites, they didn’t know that. They needed a fresh miracle. So, what was happening here?

The Pharaoh told his soldiers, “Throw every Hebrew child into the Nile River.”

Why? Because he didn’t want any Hebrew leader rising from the ranks. He wanted to destroy the Israelites. But you see, at that moment, that very same moment, what the enemy was using for the harm of the Israelites, God. was about to use for the good. How?

Drown every baby in the river. A baby comes floating to Egypt. And in the process, that very same baby that the Pharaoh was afraid of, Egypt would take care of that baby–protect, nurture him until he grows up.

What am I trying to say? It’s simple. Sometimes, God will even use the enemy’s resources to provide for you. God is so amazing. Sometimes, God will use the very things that the enemy meant to destroy you to deliver you, to rescue you.

Again, the mess in your life, it’s a miracle in the making.

So, you can trust God because He is consistent. With God nothing is impossible. And there is goodness in you. Those are the three messages.

Here’s the last message, Message No. 4: Embrace who you are. The verse says:

The NIV version says, “I drew him out of the water.”

So, you see, my friends, if you are reading this book for the first time, you’ll find out that this is the first time that the Israelites come to know the hero of the story.

Like, “Oh, Moses is his name.”

For us, no problem, because we already know that his name is Moses. But this is the first time the Israelites hear the name, Moses. And if you’re a Hebrew you know the word moses means to lift out, to draw out.

So, imagine, there was already a prophecy that one day, this guy would lift out an entire nation from oppression. So, you can say this: since the day Moses was born, his calling was already attached to his identity.

His name already said, “You’re going to lift out people from bondage.”

That’s why the question for you right now is this: Do you know the significance of your name? If you don’t, please research your name. Because who knows? God might already have a prophetic calling on you—based on your name, based on your identity.

Here’s the problem: The issue is that Moses had an identity crisis. Why?

He was born a Hebrew. And then he was adopted by Egyptian royalty.

So, one day, he would need to make a crucial decision. Let’s go to Verse 11:

Moses had to make a decision: “Who am I going to be? Am I going to be a Hebrew? Or am I going to be an Egyptian?”

Here’s my belief, my personal conviction: That Moses made a decision right there and then by killing that Egyptian.

You know what he’s killing? He was also killing the identity that he was royalty. He was choosing to be Hebrew.

But something happened:

Look at this: Moses chose to be a Hebrew. And what did the Hebrews do? They rejected him.

Has that ever happened to you? You chose to do the right thing and then your friends burned you for it, they rejected you for it, they doubted you for it?

What do you need to do?

Let’s learn. Here’s what happened:

It’s a picture of Moses. You know that Moses has an identity crisis. He’s

Hebrew, but he’s also Egyptian: “Which am I? Am I Hebrew? Am I Egyptian?”

Some of us struggle with that thought, sometimes. And the reason we know Moses is struggling is he doesn’t even identify himself to the people. The seven daughters, you know what they called him? They called him an Egyptian—not even by his name.

And then to prove my point: What was the name of his son? Gershom.

What is the meaning of Gershom? I am an alien in a foreign land.

You know, I have a friend who many years ago gave me good news that she’s now a Canadian citizen. Praise God. A lot of people love migrating for a better future, better hope for their family, and my friend was so excited. But she had a problem.

She told me, “Brother, I don’t know if I’m supposed to celebrate or not. But my issue is this: I am Filipino by blood, but now I’m Canadian by heart. I love Canada. What do I do?”

I want to share with you my answer—what I told her—because I believe that we go through the same issue, sometimes. That’s why we think we need to stay loyal only to the people we’re close to. There are people who are loyal only to the company they work for. Nothing wrong with that. But sometimes you forget that there are other people you need to help as well. Sometimes, there are people who are loyal only to the people with the last name as theirs. Because we think we need to just stay loyal to the people we are connected to.

But then I told my friend, “You know what? I believe that your nationality is really just a formality. Because what’s more important than your nationality is really your humanity. You’re Canadian now– on paper. But you’re Filipino by blood. But get this: At the end of the day, you’re a child of God. So, be loyal to God.”

Sometimes, we’re loyal only to our political preferences, to the people we love the most. To other people? We cancel them.

Moses was like that. He was choosing: “Should I be Hebrew? Should I be Egyptian?”

I want to close with this passage. We’re studying Exodus 2. I want to take you to Exodus 3—just a glimpse.

So, Moses now, we know that he’s struggling with his identity. He’s choosing… But he’s running away. He fled from Egypt. He fled from his people. And it seemed he was still in a land where he was not happy with who he is. Until one moment in Chapter 3, verse 11, where Moses has an encounter with the Lord.

And most of you will probably know this from watching The Ten Commandments. You know, my struggle when I was studying this? I knew the Ten Commandments by heart. And so, when I was reading the verses, I was like, “This is a different version of what I saw in the movie.”

There were so many struggles that Moses went through, that the movie did not show us. That’s why it’s so good to read the Bible.So now, Moses is about to encounter God through the burning bush. And God would tell Moses that He would entrust to him the task of leading the people out of Egypt. But then Verse 11 says:

Moses is so insecure, right? He’s somebody who will lead an entire nation, and yet he’s not sure of himself.

May I share a personal story. A confession. I’ve had about six official girl friends, now ex-girlfriends. I’m not bragging, or anything. I’m just being honest. And I never overlapped, mind you. When one affair ended, there was always one ready to come in. I never overlapped.

Until I realized something a very good friend pointed out. This is how you can tell if a friend is a good friend: when he tells you the truth right in front of your face and not be scared of hurting you—because that’s love to him.

And so, my friend comes up to me and says, “You know, I notice something in you. In every relationship that you’ve had, I’ve noticed this: you have various identities… You had this ex-girlfriend who loved partying, and so, you were a party person. And then you had a girlfriend who loved fashion shows, so all of a sudden, you started attending fashion shows.”

I mean, do I look like the kind of guy who attends fashion shows? Nothing against guys who attend fashion shows. It’s just not me.

And my friend continues: “And then there was your ex-girlfriend who loved going out on vacations, and then all of a sudden, you started traveling. And then there was your girlfriend who loved drugs, and then you started taking drugs.”

My friend was like, “What’s really your identity?”

It hit me: It’s true. I tried to fit who I was with the person that I was with.

And I realized I didn’t really know who I was. I became so many different versions and different layers of who I was… Until, at the age of 25, I had an encounter with the Lord and He completely revealed to me who I was and I started embracing who I am in God’s eyes. And you know what happened?

God sent me somebody who would love me for who I am. My last ex- girlfriend, now my wife. I never had to change who I am before her.

Like, “This is who I am. Love me for who I am.”

You know how this Exodus passage ended? Moses protests to God again. and again.

And God replies—in 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 words: “I AM WHO I AM.”

If you’re suffering from an identity crisis– not knowing who you really are in God’s eyes…When you go to a world that’s so broken and ask, “Who am I

in your eyes?” When you ask your parents, when you ask your friend, when you ask your best friend, “Who am I?”

And then they give you this label, they call you names, they call you titles that might not be who you are… When you go to a world that’s broken, you know what you’ll end up with? A broken identity. But instead of going to the world for your identity, why don’t you go to the One who is sure of Who He is: I am who

I am. There’s no doubt Who He is. When you’ve got doubts, go to the One Who is certain about Who He is.

And I remember there was a man who also had a double identity. His name is Jesus. Jesus had a dual identity. He was God and He was Man. He had powers and yet He felt pain. He was human and He was Divine. But you know what?

Jesus never had an identity crisis. I’m so glad that God gave us Jesus. Why? Because what God could not teach us with all these things that the people were learning then, He showed us through the life of Jesus. Because what Jesus did is an example of what we need to do if we’re broken in our identity—if we don’t really know who we really are, we do what Jesus did. He went to the Father again and again. Because in the. eyes of the Father, that’s how Jesus got His identity. He didn’t get it from the world. He got it from the Lord. He got it from the Father.

When you come before the Father, you get who you are in His eyes. And God said it in His own words: The only way to Me is through My Son Jesus.

Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the Life. I am the way to the Father.”

So, go to the Father through Jesus. And Jesus will accept you for who you are. Because He knows you. He was like you. He knows the pain that you’ve been through. He knows the confusion that you’re going through. He knows the baggage that you’re carrying right now.

So, go to the One Who understands who you are, embraces you for who you are, Who embraces your past even if it’s dirty, who embraces your present even if it’s messy– who’ll embrace you in the future because He knows it’s glorious.

Go to Jesus.

And you know, the beautiful blessing when we go to Jesus, when we go to the Father through Jesus? Because God is good, you know what happens? You imbibe that goodness again. You remember that goodness. So, you become good.

So, go to the Father. He’s a good father. And in turn, the good Father will help you, will remind you, and encourage you that you are good. You might have forgotten it, but you’re good. God made you in His own image and likeness.

You’re good. Don’t ever let what people tell you behind your back, or in your face that you’re not worthy of God’s love. You are! You’re good. We’re all good.

And in the Presence of our good, good Father, right now, may I ask you to raise your hands. Come on, every single person who received this message today.

Father, we thank You, from the bottom of our hearts, we thank You that your Presence is here and we love you for accepting and embracing who we are in your eyes– in spite of our faults, in spite of our sins, in spite of our shame, in spite of the things that we are still going to do to sin against You.

We thank You that You love us for who we are. But we don’t allow this love to just remain there. We welcome it so that it can change us. So that we move from glory to glory, from grace to grace, from strength to strength.

We don’t want to remain who we are as a broken person. But we want to be changed by You.

And so, we come before You, Jesus. Thank you for accepting who we are and we just declare that You are good– and because You are good, we’re also good.

Thank You, Jesus.

Let’s worship Him right now. Expose your heart to the Lord. Be vulnerable right now in His Presence and let God love you for who you are.


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