<![CDATA[ Melissa Elbanbuena - Blog]]>Sat, 02 Jan 2016 23:25:35 +0800Weebly<![CDATA[Hello! :)]]>Thu, 26 Nov 2015 08:04:32 GMThttp://melissaelbanbuena.weebly.com/blog/hello
Just wanna pop in real quick to say I'm still alive, haha! Been having low energy since last week, and this week, I finally knew why: I caught the kids' virus! :I I should have known that my increased sleepiness and no motivation to do anything (including Bible reading, boo) were signs because the kids exhibited the same things before they came down with viral colds. They're better now while I'm still on the mend, spending lots of time in bed.

Hopefully I can post by next week, and proceed to finish the Gospel of Mark. I'm at the part where Pontius Pilate is questioning Jesus so I'm almost done. After Mark, I'll study 1 and 2 Thessalonians by Paul. Why Mark and Thessalonians? Coz these two are the earliest written gospels in the New Testament, and thus represent a much clearer (and truer) picture of the early Church.

[ Sunflower artwork above by our eldest child :) ]
<![CDATA[End Times: Rapture and Tribulation´╗┐]]>Sat, 21 Nov 2015 13:46:33 GMThttp://melissaelbanbuena.weebly.com/blog/end-times-rapture-and-tribulationThe month of November saw terrible events happening from all over the world c/o Islamic extremists (Beirut bombings, Paris attacks plus Mali hotel hostage-taking yesterday!), and it had a lot of people wondering if we are in the end-times already. I wondered too (since June actually), and personally, I think we are truly in the end-times. All I'm really waiting is for the "abomination of desolation" to occur, and then it's fast going from there according to doctrine.org and other websites: the rapture of the Church (believers) / Day of the Lord --> 7 years of tribulation for those who were left behind (the Anti-Christ will appear here) --> Jesus comes back to reign for 1000 years in New Jerusalem (Millennial Age) --> final war with Satan / Armageddon --> all of believers in our heavenly bodies will live eternally with Yahweh.

I have to admit that I've always thought Revelations was the only book that details the end of the world (as we know it). Turns out the books of Mark (my favorite!), Matthew and Luke contained prophecies too, as well as Paul's letters to the Thessalonians and Corinthians. There are also detailed prophecies in Ezekiel and Daniel, among others. I am not a Bible reader before, sad to say, and I'm currently rectifying that mistake these days. Blessedly, the Holy Spirit has guided my Bible studying sessions, and I'm learned so much Truth about who Jesus Christ truly is, His salvation message for us, and of course, about the end-times which involves the rapture and tribulation. Christians today, however, are divided on when rapture will occur-- pre-tribulation, mid-, or post-?
source: http://www.generationword.com/_notes/50.html
Frankly, I didn't even know such terms existed or what they meant. When I read the Gospel of Mark, I made notes (last 10/18/15) for chapter 13 where the end-times was prophesied by Jesus. This is what my outline looked like from Mark 13:5-27end-times signs* --> abomination of desolation (will happen very quickly & Jews should hide in mountains) --> great tribulation (more false prophets, few will survive!) --> sun and moon will darken (eclipses?) -> stars will fall down (meteor shower?) -> powers of heaven 'shaken' (great earthquake?) --> Son of Man in clouds --> His angels gather the elect in earth AND heaven (rapture!). The end-times signs* include appearance of false prophets (prosperity gospel, idol [money/fame/etc] worship), wars (Middle East), lots of quakes, famines & troubles (Syrian refugees, Africa), gospel preached to all nations, and Christians persecuted (ISIS beheadings, US shootings).

If you follow current events news, I'm sure you've noticed that all the end-times signs have already appeared! All we're waiting for now is for the "abomination" to occur, which I honestly don't have any idea. Some say it's a hateful object on the Lord's holiest ground (Temple Mount? Western Wall?). For daniel11truth.com, it's when the Palestine flag is raised in Temple Mount (current caretakers are Muslims, and Jews have limited access to it). Also worthy to note, ISIS' end-goal is to attack Israel and their invasion may be the abomination. We will know soon enough! Anyway, if you compare the end-times timeline in the first paragraph and my end-times outline in the third paragraph, my notes say that rapture occurs AFTER the tribulation. From Mark alone, I got post-tribulation rapture. Funnily enough, I haven't read a single website that proposes this! All I've read were pre-trib!

​​Right now I'm not sure why I was shown via my Bible studies that the rapture is post-tribulation. Maybe it's a way for the Lord to warn us to be strong because a LOT of stuff are still going to happen. We might be horrified with the Paris attacks, the plight of the Syrian refugees, the barbarism of ISIS, but these are all nothing compared to what will come. (SCARY!) Pre-tribulation rapture would have been awesome because us believers (yes, I am saved and I will be raptured!) will be spared from the tribulation distress (detailed in Revelations, beginning with the sixth seal). But if my studies are correct then we have lots to do~ strengthen our faith, get more believers, make ourselves self-sufficient (so we can say NO to the mark of the beast!), study God's Word more, and basically prepare for the worst. Thankfully, we "can do all things with Christ who strengthens" us :) AJA!

P.S. I am NOT claiming to be an expert on these matters. Heck, I just started seriously reading the Bible 4-5 months ago! Plus I have looots of questions! Foremost on my mind is that maybe we're in the tribulation period already. No worries though, answers will come with more diligent Bible studies + discernment from the Lord. And yes, I shall be blogging whatever I learned by God's grace <3

http://doctrine.org/when-will-the-lord-return (pre-trib)
http://www.theposttribulationrapture.com/uploads/Changed_For_Website1.pdf (post-trib)
<![CDATA[Being the Lord's S´╗┐ervant]]>Tue, 17 Nov 2015 09:45:16 GMThttp://melissaelbanbuena.weebly.com/blog/being-the-lords-servantAs noted previously, I have been re-reading the Gospel of Mark, and writing down my thoughts and questions in my journal this time around. The following text are (from my journal, 10/19/15):

...whoever desires to be great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you who desires to be first shall be your servant. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. --Mark 10:43-45

I've been mulling over this verse for more than a week now, and the similar one in Mark 9:34. To be sure, part of being a servant means to humble yourself, and NOT desire to be the first or to be great. But the qestion remains: how can I be a servant? Is it putting my kids and husband first before my career? (I'm a licensed medical doctor but currently a stay-at-home to raise our kids.) Is it staying put at our family home to please my parents even though I want to have my own household? (I'm an only girl and my parents are quite clingy to me, lol!) Or is it literally serving the poor and needy by participating in outreach programs and/or donate money / time / goods?
source: https://wordlynotworldly.wordpress.com/2012/07/03/mark-1043-45
Thankfully, yesterday, this was the gospel in the mass we attended. See how our awesome Lord works in mysterious ways to clarify my confusion? Great is Thy faithfulness! :) Anyway, the priest explained that being a servant means MORE THAN just giving service to people, but that it also means doing God's will in your life. YOU are the Lord's servant so you should do His bidding just like a good servant does when his master tells him to do something. The priest goes on to say, "There is greatness in serving the people, and the Lord." So true! I was so moved that I vowed to continually ask and talk to the Lord on how I can be of service to Him and His people. If he can make faithful apostles out of fishermen then He can surely make use of me, a stay-at-home mom :)

Lord, I pray that You will show me how I can serve You best; how I can harness and use my God-given talents the best to glorify You. Lord, if You desire me to continue to be a stay-at-home mom to homeschool our girls, and to have time for online ministry (via blogging and social media), I will accept it Lord. If You want me to restart my medical career and be a practicing doctor, I pray that You would enlighten me Lord on the path I should take-- should I work in a government hospital, go into residency training, or should I establish a general practice right here, right now? Lord, whatever Your plans are for me, send Your Holy Spirit to guide me so I will know what to do. Help me Lord to be the best person I can be. Enlighten me Lord, show me the way. And as always, Thy will be done. Amen.
<![CDATA[Who Wants a relaxing Retreat?]]>Fri, 13 Nov 2015 10:02:03 GMThttp://melissaelbanbuena.weebly.com/blog/who-wants-a-relaxing-retreatI have stumbled on an amazing website that offers FREE 3-minute retreats to set the tone of your day right, or change your ungodly attitude in the middle of the day, or just plain spend at least 3 minutes of your day in the stillness of the Lord. It's complete with relaxing music, scripture, and questions that will delve into your current state of faith. 
The website is run by Loyola Press, a Jesuit ministry. Yes, the same order as Pope Francis. The site also offers teaching tools to form the Catholic faith, online study guides for Language Arts, and also sells books in its online shop. It also has a Spanish version! But, of course, my favorite is their 3-minute daily faith retreat :) Go, try it and reset your day!