When Jesus came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him. Matthew 8:1
When Ed Panlilio, a priest, declared to run for governor in our province Pampanga, he was pushing a wooden cart loaded with a boy with a handful of followers at his back. His campaign was based on moral governance and volunteerism. People buy posters and shirts to campaign for him. People were buying their own meals and gas fuels during motorcades. At the end of the campaign period, thousands and thousands of people flocked the miting de avance. A confidential staff told us that the campaign snowballed. Meaning it started small but as it rolled down it got big and large.
The science of a snowball is that as it comes down, it gets bigger and larger. It accumulates volume as it rolls down and down. The verse above shows that science. Jesus came down from a mountain and multitudes followed him.
In this world we live in, who wants to follow a person who is coming down. Who wants to tail a person who is not going up? This society preaches follow those who are at the top. Never get into the footsteps of those who are coming down. We always would like to be associated with those who are going up and not with those on the way down. We make friends to those who are climbing up and refuse the call of friendship of those who are sliding down.
Jesus knows otherwise.
Jesus shows otherwise.
In our walk with God, He calls us to humility. To come down. To be under God rather than above God. To be last rather than to be first. To give rather than to receive. To serve rather than to be serve. To lose life in order to gain it. To look out for others and not for self.
You can not lift those who are down when you are at the top.
Come down. And by God’s grace, be like a snowball.
Though I thought I had toiled in vain, and for nothing, uselessly, spent my strength, Yet my reward is with the LORD, my recompense is with my God. Isaiah 49:4
Have you thought you toiled in vain? Have you thought for nothing have spent your strength? I have.
I told my parents that I will be volunteering for Christ’s Youth In Action or CYA, a national movement for college students in the Philippines. As a volunteer, I will receive no compensation. My parents were expecting I can help out with the family finances after getting my degree. But I was convicted to make this big step. At first my mother was hesitant however my father was inclined to allow me. After all discussions about cutting down my weekly allowance from them and working extra time for our small family business, I was a CYA volunteer. Making the big decision is not as easy as ABC.
- There were times my parents got sick, and I said to myself “Is this how the Lord repays my service?” If I had a job, then I can help out for their hospital expenses.
- There were times I have stressed relationship with my brothers and sisters in CYA due to different approaches in our evangelistic activities.
- There were times in came to my mind that “What in the world am I doing here?” when the students are not impacted when we reach for them.
- There were times I observed my batch mates having their time of their lives as they prosper in their electrical engineering career. And here I am working free for the Lord which is not even aligned with my degree.
Looking back, I praise and thank the Lord for the courage and strength that I made that big step for Him. Because of my four years in volunteering in CYA, God has blessed me with growth and love for Him and I am what I am now because of those formative years in CYA.
I am a zealous and passionate Christian I am with the fire I carried in God from CYA. I am a husband I am with the love and respect I experienced with God in CYA brothers and sisters. I am a father I am with the training I learned being cared for and for caring for young people. I am an engineer I am with the work ethics and principles I was blessed in CYA.
God calls us to serve Him. And when we do His work, we can be discouraged. When things do not go exactly as we expected, we get disappointed. Our reward is not dependent on the results of our service. Our recompense is not based on the response of people with our service. Our reward and recompense is with God alone.
From there he moved on to the hill country east of Bethel, pitching his tent with Bethel to the west and Ai to the east. He built an altar there to the LORD and invoked the LORD by name. Genesis 12:8
Abram moved from one place to another as directed by the Lord. And from one place to another he built an altar for the Lord.
It’s not about building a physical altar for God. But a conviction to be committed and consistent in living for God alone wherever he settled. When Abram moved to a new place, he sure carried the usual loyalty to enthrone God in his place, in his life and in his heart. He may have a change of address however he has no change of faith. New community to be with however the same God on his side. Maybe a new culture to live in however he still live for his living God. From one place to another, Abram has an unaltered life in God.
Have you moved? From one place to another? From your country to another? Transferred from one province to another? One community to another? New to your workplace? Have a new group of friends? Have a new school?
Build God’s altar wherever you move. God is the same God where you came from. His love goes with you. His faithfulness follows you. His grace consistent as the day. You may have a change of atmosphere or weather or location and God is the same God of all these circumstances. The challenge of moving is to be committed to your commitment. The test of relocation is to continue to place God at the center of your location.
Wherever you move, build an unaltered altar for God.
Wherever you move, live an unaltered life for God.
All the communities of the earth shall find blessing in you. Genesis 12:3
Thank God! You are here!
Have you heard those words many times or seldom? Are people blessed when they see you? Are they uplifted when you are in company with them? With just a thought of you, are they encouraged enough? Do they experience hope instead of hurt in your presence?
The thought of being a blessing to all places where you are at is a daunting challenged. We are to be a blessing not only to those who love or respect you. People who wronged you, will find blessing in you. People who blame you, will find blessing in you. People who exclude you, will find blessing in you. People who are unlovable, will find blessing in you. Or you feel you are not blessed enough to be a blessing.
All communities will find blessing in you. In Angeles City, Philippines. In Albany, NY. In Christ’ Youth in Action. In Ang Lingkod ng Panginoon. In Bale Ning Guinu. In Family of Faith in New Jersey. In Bukas Loob sa Diyos in Albany, NY. In St. Helen’s Parish in Niskayuna, NY. In Holy Family Parish in Albany, NY. In National Transmission Corporation. In Holy Angel University. In Pterra Consulting.
When we are a blessing to others, people see the magnified God. Even they are poor, they will be satisfied. When they are feeling inadequate, they will be empowered. When you come, light will overcome as they are enveloped in darkness. When they are in despair, they will see God’s plan. They will find comfort with your support. They will find a home, those who are abandoned. Be a blessing by simply being there.
With your actions, they see God’s hand. With your words, they hear God’s message. They shall find blessing in you from God.
“Let us cross to the other side.” Mark 4:35
Jesus told the disciples to cross to the other side. He went with them through the storm. He ordered the wind to be quiet and still. He saw the disciples were fearful. And in the midst of the squall, Jesus showed the disciples, fear not but have faith. And the disciples crossed to the other side. From being men of fear to being men of faith.
Friends, Jesus invites us too to cross to the other side. And crossing to the other side with Jesus is not so easy at all. We will encounter storms and gusty winds in life as we take the journey. However our security lies in the fact that Jesus is in the boat. That Jesus is in our lives. He is with us to make us quiet and be still and know He is God (Psalm 46:10). He is with us to make sure we cross to the other side.
From fearful to faithful.
From old creation to new creation (2 Cor. 5:17).
From weakness to strength.
From pride to selfless.
From deserving to serving.
From perishable to eternal.
From death to life.
From sinner to saint.
From crowd to disciple.
Be with Jesus and cross to the other side.
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Matthew 6:9-10
You never brought me to school. You did not watch when I had victories in Science Quiz Bees. You never bother to ask me what would I wear or if I had a date for the Prom. I had four graduations in my whole life and you never attended one. You did not watch even a single basketball game I played. We never played any game together. We never watched a movie together. And never had a time in a fast food with you.
I can go on and on. But one thing is very clear in my heart and mind. My father was not there because he was running our small business. What will you do if you have eight children all going to school? My father was passionate in preparing our future. My father was committed to give us prosperity. Today as I write this, I believe that I am a successful married man with a wonderful wife and joyful two daughters. I am a young Professional Electrical Engineer working in a respectable electric power systems consulting company. My siblings likewise finished their courses and are well to do. Looking back, my father’s will was done.
Most of the time, we think our Father in heaven is a father in absence when life is rough sailing.
You were laid off from your company. Finances are on all time low. You were diagnosed with a disease. A family member or a close friend died. Your marriage is challenged. Family is in disarray.
We assume the Father has abandoned us. We think He is busy to attend to His child. We suppose He has forgotten us. We think He is not there.
The Father is always with us. And all these difficulties and challenges come to past. The Father’s will leads to a future. A future full of hope. A future of prosperity. A life of fulfillment. That is the Father’s will. And His will be done.
One of the synagogue officials, named Jairus, came forward. Seeing him he fell at his feet and pleaded earnestly with him, saying, “My daughter is at the point of death. Please, come lay your hands on her that she may get well and live.” He went off with him, and a large crowd followed him and pressed upon him. Mark 5:22-24
He was a synagogue official. He supervised observance of the law. He was there to identify which is clean and unclean. Though a man in position, he was feeling the lowest point in his life – death of his daughter. His stature can’t heal his daughter. Rituals of the law can’t heal his daughter. He has religious standing and he administers the law and yet hope of healing does not come.
And on this day, he decided to put his hope not on the law but on Jesus who came to fulfill the law. His actions declare his name, Jairus, which means “God enlightens”. God enlightened this synagogue official that hope and healing lies not on the law but in Christ alone. Jairus is begging for hope and healing. Jesus is giving hope and healing.
Jairus made a big step. He might be where Jesus is to list down Jesus’ shortcomings in the fulfillment of the law. But maybe as Jairus is capturing moments against Jesus, Jesus captured his heart. He knelt down before the Jesus whom he supposedly to guard on the requirements of the written law. With this, his job maybe at the exit door. Jairus made the big step not for himself but for somebody else.
Jesus made a big step too. He is not only passing by to adhere Jairus’ request, He is going to Jairus’ home. To make the dead rise. To give hope to the hopeless. To heal the broken heart. For the unbelievers to believe.
We can make big steps through God’s grace for others. We can be instruments of God’s enlightenment to others. High hops to give hope. Large leaps to give light. Jumbo jumps to give joy.
Go to another country to do God’s work. Talk to a stranger about Jesus. Give a talk in the prayer meeting. Lead the prayer meeting. Volunteer for the parish. Volunteer for the community. Give up time for self to do time for others. Make a long distance call to a friend in crisis.
Jesus made the biggest step by dying on the cross. He invites us to die and live for Him. Draw strength from Him to make big steps. Big steps offered to a big God.