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Friday November 13, 2020

Pastor John Mar G. Ricardo
First Church of the Nazarene

Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
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GPS/DMS 14.6143° N, 121.0614° E


5256 cdd The Agreement
Cyber Daily Devotion
Volume 21 Number 243

Today’s Author: Pastor Bill

Hello, My name is Pastor John Mar Ricardo from the First Church of the Nazarene, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines. I was born the oldest of four children and lived 250 miles North of Manila in San Mateo on the Island of Luzon. My dad was a farmer and mom was busy as a housewife keeping our family directed toward the Lord.

We grew up in church learning about the Bible and Jesus, but it was just a way of life with no deep meaning. When I was a teenager a friend invited me to a revival meeting. I didn’t know what it was but out of curiosity decided to go along. That was an experience that changed my life.

There were four preachers who spoke during the revival about a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I had not understood such a relationship existed. God moved on my heart with a complete cleaning as I confessed to Him I was a sinner and law breaker. The Holy Spirit convicted me. I decided to commit myself to such a relationship.

My heart was set on Jesus so I spoke what has become my life — “Lord if you will use me — I will follow.”

It didn’t take Jesus long to accept my commitment. I was overcome with tears as He was purifying my heart (Never did that before!). I was not worthy but thanked Him deeply for accepting a broken me. I thanked Jesus for His grace, love and mercy, and until this day I Give Him Glory for what happened to me.

But the next day I didn’t feel any different! I went home and my eyes were open. I saw my dad and mom reading the Bible. I learned what an example for Jesus they had been all my life. I wanted that in my life too.

We had many Bibles in our house on a shelf picking up dust. I picked up a New Testament and randomly began reading. The words came alive. The more I read the more I wanted to read. The Pastor at church noticed my newfound interest in the Bible and things of Jesus. I began to ask questions. He began mentoring me.

I was like a sponge taking in all that I was reading and asking questions, inquiring and learning. He taught me. He saw in me not what I was but what I could be through Christ. For more than six months my Pastor mentored me and gave me more and more responsibility to pray and teach others in our Local Church.

It became clear that Jesus was using me daily and I was determined to keep my part of our agreement – I followed Him. He took me to Bible school. A wonderful time learning so much about our founding fathers in the Bible and their relationship with Jesus.

My first experience of a miracle took place in Bible School. You see I only spoke and read my native language of Tagalog. The Lord gave me the gift of English because the school was only taught in English. When I needed it most Jesus gave me what I needed. I also met my wife Marie during Bible School. She was a student responding and preparing herself for the Lord’s ministry.

Upon graduation I began preaching and teaching, doing my part in building the Kingdom of God here on earth. We were married December 2015 and today together we are actively leading a Local Church. The Lord has blessed us with two beautiful daughters, Jemimah 3 and Esther 2. The Lord has been so faithful, and I continue to execute our agreement – Jesus leads, and I follow.

Miracle number 2. When our first daughter Jemimah was born there were serious complications including life threatening neonatal sepsis. The doctors gave us an extended stay in the Hospital for medication and monitoring. It was heartbreaking and worrisome. I took this into prayer with my Lord. 11 days later we walked out of the hospital with a happy, healthy baby girl dedicated to the Lord.

Miracle number 3. Jemimah was running toward me after our Church Worship service one Sunday. I was on top of the steps of our church while greeting the people and as she was running she stumbled head long into a sharp edge of the stairs. The impact was in her eye and on her nose. We rushed her to the hospital a bloody mess. We thought that she would lose her eyesight. Once again the doctors did not have good news. We prayed. We stormed heaven and Jesus answered. Today Jemimah doesn’t even have a scar mark on her nose and her eyesight is perfect. To God be all the Glory! Jesus leads and we follow!

My favorite Bible verse that speaks about my commitment to God is from 1 Timothy 1:12 “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength to do his work. He considered me trustworthy and appointed me to serve him” NLT (Bible Paraphrase)

Pastoring a church is a big responsibility. Without Jesus leading the way I can’t imagine how anyone could succeed. Throughout ministry the Lord has gifted me with the abilities to Pray, Preach and Lead. Every day I keep my eyes on Jesus as He takes on the responsibilities here and I follow.

The Cross means to me the Power of God – Jesus came to earth to save us. You and me. It is my job to tell everyone. He leads I follow.

I desire this Cross planted to communicate to all who see it that:
It is a symbol of the Love of God.
It represents the Love and Grace of God.
It symbolizes Love that knows no bounds.
It curiously stands there beckoning all to receive Jesus.

Pastors Bill and Carol, this beautiful Cross replaces our old Cross — it brings with it a new move of the Holy Spirit — a fresh new commitment to the Kingdom of God. Thank you and your readers for proving such an opportunity for us. We are blessed by your generosity.

Prayer: Father thank you that You honor Your agreements throughout eternity. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!