DIDOY LUBATON: I want to start with a story. December 19, 2013, I kneeled— on one knee— in Sonia’s Garden, on a Friday night, under a beautiful, beautiful colorful trellis. And I popped the question to my girlfriend and I asked her, “Would you be my wife?”

She said, “Yes.”

And that was the most wonderful feeling for me.

I stood up, hug-hug with friends, celebrate, and celebrate.

But I could not sleep that night. Because I was like,

“I’m getting married. Where will I get the money for the wedding expenses?”

Who experienced this: the news just arrived to you and you’re like, “I don’t know what I’m going to do.”

Who’s trying to find some funds for whatever they need, for some particular project? How many don’t know what to do with their family or personal relationships? How many are having a hard time with business, workplace?

Our one big message today is: God is committed to your flourishing.

Is your life hard today? One psychological study surveyed hundreds of persons and they checked the persons’ mental, well-being status— divided into two categories: 1. Flourishing; 2. Languishing.

I’m so surprised that only 20% of the respondents answered that they were flourishing. And I was like, where are the 80%? Are they languishing? In the middle? I don’t know.

I believe we are not supposed to be languishing. God did not create us all so that He could see us all suffer. He is not that kind of God. He wants us to be flourishing.

Gusto ba ni Lord na maging mahirap ako? — Does God want me to be poor?

I don’t think so.

Last month, we finished our talk series on Genesis. It was such a mind- blowing experience. Changed my life.

And one of the main points there, at the start of the Bible, first book of the Bible, God created a good world for us humans to experience good things— blessings to share and bless the world and the rest of creation. Here, we knew and have seen over and over again that God really desires human flourishing. He not only desires it. Here’s what I’m going to preach today: He’s committed that it will happen to your life. He doesn’t just desire you to live an abundant, rich life. He’s committed to making it happen with you— not to force you— but with you. And I want you to embrace that truth— that God is committed to your flourishing. God is. How about you?

We welcome you to our new series on Exodus, the second book of the Bible.

And the series is titled Special Delivery: God Will Rescue You.

God has a special delivery for all of us. And that delivery is us. We’re being delivered from pain, from worry, from psychological deficit, from… you name it Because we are not supposed to be languishing. We are in the progress and process of flourishing.

Exodus is not just a standalone story. We’re not going to forget about Genesis and then move to the next book and see what happens. No. It’s all interconnected. Exodus continues after Genesis.

In the last part of Genesis, it mentions Jacob and his sons. And how does

Exodus begin? The names of Jacob’s sons are there.

So, let’s read together:

By doing this, the author of  Exodus is telling us that, hey, the Genesis story is not the ending. It is going to continue and continue, and continue.

The core message of Genesis continues in Exodus.

You have to remember also that sometimes, it’s good to get some fun facts from the Bible. The first five books of the Bible are called the Pentateuch— the four books after Genesis are Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.

They all begin with the same word. Not in the English translation of the Bible— remember that this was translated from the Hebrew Bible, from the Hebrew text. And all four books start with the Hebrew word ve —and in English, ve means and.

So, the books are interconnected— hyperlinked.

So, we’ll go through this 10-week series on Exodus— it’s a long story, but it’s a beautiful story.

What I’m going to do today with you is I’m just going to just unpack Exodus, just open it. In the next ten weeks, I want you to start reading the Exodus story — on your own. Because you read the Bible not just during The Feast. We try to read the Bible even in our daily life. You know, we meditate on the Word, day and night.

I’m going to give you five lessons immediately from the first chapter of Exodus.

So, if you’re suffering right now, it’s not God’s idea. You’re in a process.

God may be teaching you something. Humbling moments make us learn humility.

So, from Exodus 1: 6-7 (below). I want you to see that.

In the Bible stories, the characters died. But the descendants continued to multiply and fill the land.

This reminds us of Genesis 1:

So, in the opening verses of Exodus, God’s desire to bless His people was so very clear. It is a different book, but it is not a different story.

It’s all coming together.

Again, it’s not God’s idea for humans to suffer. If you’re suffering, God is not laughing. He is not happy that you are in your dead-end job. He is not happy that your savings account is negative. He is not happy that you have a lot of bills to pay. He is not happy that you have debts, for years now, and you want to pay them. He is not happy that you are disconnected from your kids., and you don’t know what to do… If you are the kid, He is not happy that you are having a hard time figuring out, “How can I parent my parent?” – the situation right now in society…

Come on, calamities happen. We are sometimes stuck in horrific messes.

And if you look at the story of the human suffering—war, genocide, pandemic — still happening right? All of these are obstacles to our human flourishing. One by one, many times, these are caused by evil and greedy humans. These are not caused by God. God is not happy when we are suffering. God is committed to   our flourishing. It’s actually only by the grace of God that we have survived all of these terrible happenings.

And if you are still alive, you have survived so far. You’ve gone through many obstacles: Kasal na kayo– You’re already wed. Nabitawan mo na yung negative person sa buhay mo.– You’ve freed yourself from the negative person in your life. Nakapag-tithe ka pa din, kahit tight –You’ve been able to tithe even if your budget is tight. Nandito ka pa rin– You’re still here. You could have been just sleeping throughout the day. You are still trying and overcoming difficulties day by day.

God is committed to you. So, does God really care about us? Yes, He does.

In the Exodus story which we are going to study in the next 10 weeks, you’re going to see that yes, God is so committed to turn something really bad into something really, really good. And that is our daily, daily life.

Message No. 2: Problems are a part of life.

When we say God is committed to your flourishing, we’re also saying that God doesn’t in one snap, you become a millionaire. No.

What is he going to give you? He’s going to give you ideas, opportunities, people, connections. And that, with the Lord, through our efforts, the millions will come. Probably you’re in that process. Probably not yet. But it is in God’s plan for you to flourish.

And God doesn’t say you will never have wars anymore. Is there anybody here who can claim there will be no pandemics happening again? There will be no life-threatening illnesses that will come to your family.

That’s not what we’re preaching here. What we’re preaching is despite the calamities, despite the terrible incidents happening to all of us– that most of the time we cause ourselves– despite all of those, the sovereignty of God says you are meant to flourish. You are meant to live an abundant life.

I want you to hear that. Here is the truth: We need problems to flourish.

That is God’s blessing for you: the problem right in front of you. The problem in parking makes us patient. The problem with the queues, the lines. Come on, we’re family here. We’re going to face it day by day, week by week. What are you going to do? Are you going to complain?

Or are you going to say, “Lord, thank You for teaching me patience today.” We need problems to flourish. Problems are actually turning into our good .

God allows problems so that we could learn how to overcome them. And the good news is God will not give you problems beyond your capacity to bear them. So, if you have big problems, you have a big responsibility. God believes you so much that you can overcome. God believes you so much that your potential is so unlimited. You are limited only according to what you see and what you believe in yourself.

In the whole Exodus story, you will see a lot of problems. The Israelites face pharaohs. They faced the sea and they could not escape. So many problems happening to them. It seemed like the Israelites were doing well – blessings and fruitfulness—and then just as God promised them, through Abraham: You will be multiplying, you will have descendants as many as the stars, you will live blissful, beautiful, fruitful life.

But the blessing was seen as a curse, not by the Israelites but…Where they are? They were in Egypt and there was. a ruler there, a Pharaoh. Sometimes, the blessings of other people can be seen as a curse by another person.

So, we go to Message No. 3: Don’t be like Pharaoh.

This person, this unnamed Pharaoh, did not know anything about Joseph and his family. He did not know that it was Joseph’s wisdom that saved Egypt, his country, his kingdom, from a terrible crisis before.

What happened? The blessing to someone else can be a threat to an insecure person.

So, let’s read the Word, Exodus 1:8:

Another version of the Bible, the New International Version (NIV), uses a better word. Pharoah says: Come, we must deal shrewdly with them…

Does the word shrewdly ring a bell? It was preached a few weeks ago.

It was the same Hebrew word used to describe the crafty serpent in Genesis 3—the one who fooled Adam and Eve.

You know, Pharaoh doesn’t trust God’s purposes for His people. So, instead of seeing the Israelites multiplying as a blessing– a workforce that could enrich the nation—he oppresses them into forced labor. He maltreats the blessing.

And did you notice? In Exodus, Pharaoh isn’t even given a specific name.

It doesn’t matter. And now, I want you to think about it: The Pharaoh is the archetype of a leader who steps on other humans to protect his own insecurities.

You and I, my friend, sometimes, we’re pharaohs in our homes, in our workplaces, in our businesses, in our little communities, in our light groups— from leaders, to politicians, to managers, to supervisors, to teachers, to fathers, to mothers. We sometimes fall into this trap.

Are you a leader, my friend? Are you a person in authority?

This Exodus story is asking you: Don’t be like a pharaoh. We are our own worst pharaohs. Yeah? Can anybody agree with me that sometimes, we’re like a Pharoah—that we need to change?

We enslave ourselves. We put down ourselves. We do not believe in ourselves. We kill our fruitfulness. We make bad decisions because of bad feelings, blaming bad situations, or external forces. Sometimes, we are our worst pharaohs. But here’s the good news: SPECIAL DELIVERY: God will rescue you.

Message 4: In the middle of your trials, God will find a way to bless you there.

So, let’s continue with Exodus 1:11:

For the sake of his nation’s security and to quell his paranoia, Pharaoh decides to oppress the people of Israel. He got himself fighting against God. Israelites are the blessed people of God. But Pharaoh – because he sees the Israelites as a threat…

Guys, sometimes, everything seems like a threat to us. And even if the blessing is coming in, we think that’s a threat. That’s why we’re cursing the blessing. And God is rescuing us from that perspective.

The Israelites are fruitful in filling the Earth. But instead of co-ruling with God, his creation, they are being ruled by Pharaoh. So, what does God do?

That is the story that is amazing. In the midst of the hardship that they’re going through, God continues to bless His people. Let me say that again:

In the midst of the hardships of the Israelites, of the blessed people of God— of yours and mine—God still continues to bless His people. Let me read Exodus 1:12:

Come on, give me some more problems, Lord. Because I am your son,

I am your daughter. We are your chosen nation. The more that we are oppressed, the more that we are obsessed with the blessings that are coming in.

We’re not afraid of the breaking because, in the breaking, we will find our blessings. We will find that our blessings are there, for us, to become our breakthroughs. God is an expert in this. Even in the worst situations, God turns what is meant for evil into good. Just like in the Genesis story.

You may be in a harsh situation right now. You may be in depressed languishing, hurting situation right now. But trust that even in the midst of the upheavals, in the midst of everything, God is right there blessing you.

We know this so well: that when we focus only on our problems, when we focus on ourselves, we doubt ourselves. We doubt Who created us.

Because when we are looking at ourselves, we’ll ask: Natutulog ba ang Diyos?—Is God sleeping? Is God really capable? Am I really set for greatness? Am I going to get myself out of this debt? Is my child going to forgive me?

Is my relationship with my spouse still going to be okay?

We doubt ourselves. Doubt is our problem. We’ll end up not taking God seriously. Because we’re looking just at ourselves.

And this Exodus story, again, speaks directly to our doubts. Because it’s not, you know—Just be good, and then we go to Heaven. No, no, no. This Exodus story is about real suffering—happening to the people in a broken world. With cruel tyrants like Pharaoh. And you’ll see that God will do something about it.

The question is: Are you cooperating with what God is doing about it? Right, friend, God knows what you’re going through. God knows the way to your breakthrough. And even if you do not see Him, even if you do not feel Him, even if you do not recognize Him, it doesn’t matter to Him.

Here’s the good point: He is still blessing you. Man, what a great God we serve!

Aminin. Admit it. I’m the first one who’ll raise a hand. I have sins. How many sinners are in this place? We are not in a Feast of perfect people. This is actually a hospital for broken people—in the recovery process.

Welcome home. If you’re in doubt, welcome home. If you are recovering from any addiction, from any sin, if you’re a bad person, welcome home. This is your place.

What I want to drive the talk further into:

When some think of God, their image of God is this: that God is a stern old person—nakaabang, papaluin ko kung magkamali ka—watching, ready to spank you when you make a mistake.

We imagine that God is frowning and He is so obsessed that we should obey Him. No, no, no. That’s not the God we serve.

This may be a shock for some of us. But in Exodus, God is not just convincing the Israelites to make better moral choices—to be good boys, to be good girls. So that if life sucks now, when they die, at least they will receive their heavenly reward.

That is sometimes our thinking. But in Exodus, we are really going to see further that God is committed to delivering people from their physical suffering.

From your personal suffering.

And here’s the clincher: Check the sequence of events as we discuss Exodus further.

I want to give an insight, right here, right now: The rescue of the Israelites from Egypt came before the Ten Commandments.

There were no Ten Commandments then. The Ten Commandments happened only when they were already in the wilderness, with Moses, complaining to God. But you know, the miracle of that Special Delivery happened even before the Commandments were written down.

You know what that means for you and me? You are welcome home. You don’t have to be perfect. You can try and strive to be.

God’s rescue plan was to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. And it wasn’t offered only to those who obeyed His commands. It was a call to simply trust God.

And if God calls you, “Yes, Lord!”

In the Exodus story which we are going to unpack in the coming weeks, God’s call is symbolized by the lamb’s blood put on the doorframe of each of the Israelite’s houses, so that when the angel of the Lord passes by, that household will be saved.

If you’re having questions in your mind, come next few weeks, you will understand what I am talking about.

As long as there was the blood of the lamb painted on their door, they will be saved– whether you’re an Israelite or an Egyptian. Whether you are a good person or a bad person. Whether you have been faithful or not in paying your taxes. Whether you’re a good spouse or a bad one. Whether your moral transformation can wait—and it’s in the process.

But God’s plan, the special plan, the Special Delivery for you is: “Come, my child, I will rescue you. I am rescuing you.

I want you to get ready for next week’s talk. The Egyptians responded to God’s goodness very badly. They became so much more evil to the Israelites— as we read in Exodus 1:13 (above).

And the evil did not stop there. It went on. Later, we will hear that Pharaoh enacts a decree that every Hebrew boy must die. He is cutting off the family line of Abraham forever. He is so insecure, so afraid, so fearful that he will lose his kingdom because of the prosperity of the Israelites.

What we want to watch for is how did God respond to this evil. Watch.

Because God has a rescue plan. That’s what we will find out in the next nine weeks. As we unpack the entire series, we will see how God shows up at the doorstep of Pharoah, through the guy named Moses.

In conclusion, Jesus really rescues you. Jesus is rescuing you, friends. Again, I sense that this room is full of people—even you who are watching online– who are going through tough times. It’s so easy to buy into this lie, and think that God doesn’t care about you. God.

Sometimes, you don’t think you’re going to get out of debt. Like, “I’m you’re counting the months, whoo, it’s already October, I’m still below budget.”

Again, God doesn’t want you to be miserable. He doesn’t want you trapped in your addictions. He doesn’t want you to live a life of poverty.

Today, my dear friend, I pray that your heart receives this message: God is committed to you. God is committed to your flourishing. That is the one thing that you want to remember today. God wants you to experience the abundance of the Eden vision.

I want you to look up to God. His commitment to us is great. He stepped into history to rescue us. He did it in Exodus. He did especially too through Jesus.

Suddenly, we will see what Jesus was doing when he was here. It makes so much sense.

Jesus healed a woman bleeding for 12 years, that no doctor could cure.

Jesus delivered the man who was tormented by demons, who was hurting himself and others—even cutting himself with stones.

Jesus also made a disabled man in Bethesda walk again—someone who had been paralyzed for 38 long years.

That’s the kind of God that we serve. Jesus was freeing people from their physical and spiritual suffering—for how can we separate the physical from the spiritual?

You are one person. You are one whole beautiful being.

And on the Cross, Jesus confronted the worst of our failures—our past, our present, our future. He came face-to- face with evil. He won by dying.

This is part of His rescue plan—for you and for me. He became the King—the true King of Heaven and Earth. Not in our human terms—but in the most unexpected way: by putting His complete trust in God. He believed that love is more powerful than the grave itself.

It’s a signal for all new creations— for all of us. God’s commitment to your flourishing cannot be defeated by anyone, not even death. Never doubt again. Start believing.

Friend, are you suffering physically? Are you suffering spiritually? Are you languishing— a deeper word–? Do you need God’s rescue?

Today, look to Jesus. He asks you to trust Him and follow Him. And then you’ll see—eventually. Go, be rescued by Jesus.

My friend, very simple: I started this talk saying that I knelt– on one knee.

Mayi and I are eight years married now. And I’m sure there are people here who are 16, 24, 48 years married.

Remember my doubt—Am I going to be able to provide for my wife? Well, we’re still married. She hasn’t left me. Ha-ha.

At hindi pera-pera lang. – And it’s not just about money. In the last eight years, we went through a lot of suffering. I feel like crying when I try to look back. God gives and takes away. But blessed be His name.

Mahirap kumita ng pera. It’s hard to earn money. Minsan lang ‘yan. It’s just temporary. Gagaan din ‘yan. It’s going to be easier in the long run.

Didoy and Mayi, holding hands, get married, and living a good life. And then three years after, Hailey came. We have a beautiful daughter. And then two years after, Hosea came. Imagine, the Israelites were multiplying—I’m just connecting this to my own life.

But I am not kidding. I was asking, “Lord, kaya ko ba ito? Can I bear this?”

Friends, I’m one with you. I’m just like you. We all have our worries. We all have our baggage.

Last week, I was able to talk to a lola–grandma. And the lola was thinking about the apo—grandchild.

And I was like, “Huh, darating din ako dun.”– I’m going to get to that point I’ll be thinking of my grandchildren.

You know, we are at that stage where – Hailey is 5 years old, Hosea, 3. We are going to our 40s. My children are starting school—face-to-face, hybrid

(a mix of face-to-face and online meetings). Nakakaloka–Mindboggling. Pandemic, war between Ukraine and Russia, prices of commodities skyrocketing—everyone is annoyed, irritated. Even in the Feast..

Christmas is coming, you still have no Papa (boyfriend). Still have no money.

It’s really like that.

Whether we’re good, whether we’re bad, whether you’re doing good, whether you’re in a bad situation, whether you’re suffering—because of your own personal decision… Or whether you’re suffering because of things beyond your control…whoever is in government, wherever we are doing our Feast.

These don’t matter. God doesn’t look at those (setbacks).

He looks at you and me, and He says, “My child, I have a Special Delivery. Come, I’m going to deliver you from evil. I’m going to deliver you, and carry you, and provide for you, and make sure that no harm will overcome you. I also am giving you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions. I’m giving you authority, go ahead! I came to your life so that you may have life in its fullness, My child.”

Today, receive the blessing. Ask God:

“Lord, I believe you’re committed to my flourishing. So, turn my mourning into dancing, please, Lord. Turn my languishing into flourishing. I don’t want to be here, anymore. Turn me from being bitter to becoming better. I’m hurting with the oppression. But I believe that the greater the oppression, the greater the opposition, the greater the victory. And the victory is already Yours, Lord.

And so, Lord, I’m going to come into this prayer because I need You in my life. I cannot do it on my own.

Go ahead and make that prayer today…

And God says, “I will bless you. I am committed to your flourishing.

Believe it. Receive it. Embrace it. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.


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