Letter from Cody: Philippines – November 2016
I am so thankful for the many promises that God has “something better” for His faithful people. “God having provided some better thing for us…” “But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly…” “And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” Hebrews 11:40; 11:16; 12:24. The book of Hebrews is full of promises of “something better,” including a perfect, unmovable kingdom. “Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” Hebrews 12:28. We are to receive and to be a part of this better, unshakable kingdom, but what does that mean? This better kingdom is not only a kingdom (ruled by a king), but it is also a theocracy (ruled by God). We are not born with citizenship into this better kingdom/theocracy; instead, we must day by day choose to be citizens by placing ourselves under the King’s rule. “The place assigned you by the Lord was under Him in the divine theocracy. You were to learn of Jesus, the Great Teacher, planning and working in accordance with His example. You were to make God first, ever obeying His word. In this would be your strength.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 180, 181. As we put God first in our lives in full obedience to Him, we are taking our assigned place in this better kingdom. To maintain our citizenship in this kingdom/theocracy, we must learn to continually submit to our Heavenly King. “They are discarding the divine Theocracy; for this requires submission to God’s authority, to His mind and will, and by it all who believe in the gospel of Christ are brought into perfect unity.” Letter 8, 1900. May we faithfully take our place in this divine theocracy, living moment by moment in full submission to the authority of our God!
As I think of this better kingdom and the invitation to join it, I praise God for the many faithful workers around the world giving this message. I think especially of Brother Temtem in the Philippines who is doing just this work. I met Temtem many years ago and was very impressed with his love for people and with his God-given gift for sharing Jesus’ love with others. At the time, he was doing Bible work for our evangelistic series and had started so many Bible studies that he had to ask other workers to take over some of them. Since that time, Temtem has continued to share the message of truth with whoever will listen throughout the island of Mindanao. His reports always highlight the power of personal work to change lives. Recently, he shared how the Lord had directed him to Brother Ramon. God had been working in Ramon’s life and convicting him of his need to change his ways, but he never seemed able to relinquish his bad habits. He drank excessively and smoked copiously and had passed on these vices to his children. Through a brother from another church, Ramon had begun listening to Bible truth and was impressed with the messages, but still he continued with his vices. Providentially, the Lord opened the door for his family to move to another area where they met Temtem, who is always looking for those he can share the gospel with. Temtem began answering their questions from the Bible and shared with them what the Bible teaches about how to be saved. God worked in Ramon’s life and the lives of his children, and Ramon found the power and grace to leave behind his vices. Soon he chose to follow Jesus in baptism. Now, he seeks to share the message of freedom through God’s saving love with his neighbors. Please pray for faithful workers like Temtem who are sharing the message of salvation with men and women throughout the Philippines. If you would like to help Temtem and his coworkers, you can mark your donation “Philippines Workers.”
Yours in submitting to the better kingdom,