“….. How could I not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins…..” Nehemiah 2:3
One poor nation. One devastating typhoon.
Flooded metropolis. Streets are rivers of raging waters. Numerous deaths. Numerous missing. Hundreds of houses swiped. Properties destroyed. Crapped up crops. Land vehicles sucked. Mud on the map. Fingers pointing. Relief tug-o-war. Aid corrupted. Hospitals need cure. Rescuers need rescuing.
Ruined the already ruined. The weak becomes weaker. The hopeless dreams no more.
I watch from afar yet the pain is near. I listen from miles away yet the cries scream.
I find solace in God. I look for help in God. I search refuge in God.
I am sad.
They said in reply, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.’ Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter said in reply, “The Messiah of God.” Luke 9:19-20
If you are maintaining a blog in wordpress.com, you may have encountered this word – UNCATEGORIZED. Sorry, I can’t speak about other free blog providers if they have the same vocabulary. So why this word, uncategorized, shows up in your blog. I mean, what happened why the word comes out in your blog. Maybe you forgot to click your favorite topic categories on the right side of your dashboard. You excitedly write your thoughts and you quickly push that publish icon. When you viewed your important post, you saw that your post is under uncategorized category. Another possibility is this, you wrote a post spontaneously. Your insight juices kicked in. Your fingers found their way on your keyboard. As you conclude your article, you do not have a tag for this excellent written idea. And because it might be one of your priceless posts you decided to publish it anyway, under uncategorized.
During Jesus’ time, He was like uncategorized. People do not know who Jesus really is since they had different angles at the way they perceived who He is, People do not know where He came from or what He is. They mistaken Him for the man who prepared the way. They also thought He was a present day Elijah. Another one of the popular hits is that He may be one of the old prophets who just came out from the grave. It took a retired fisherman to categorized Jesus. But the cool thing is this, among those who were trying to categorize Jesus, only Peter was named personally. Others who tried to were called “crowds” and “others”. So here is my sideline slam dunk – categorizing Jesus is personal. Knowing Jesus is personal.
So how about you, my friend? How do you categorize Jesus? Are you a crowd who say He is John the Baptist? Or others who categorize Him as Elijah or one of the prophets? Or a Peter who personally replied Jesus is the Messiah of God?
Here is my suggestion. Be like Peter. Walk with Jesus. Eat with Jesus. Live with Jesus. Chat with Jesus. Be a disciple.
In your life, don’t let Jesus be uncategorized.
Mine is the silver and mine the gold, says the LORD of hosts. Haggai 2:8
We deposited an amount in one house which we are interested. After we had a falling out with the sellers, our team (attorney, real estate agent and loan officer) told us we ought to get the whole deposit. In turn, the sellers with their own team insisted they hold the whole deposit. Our lawyer was very positive that we do not have a contract with them thus we have every right to every cent of the put down. Our lawyer even encouraged us to get into small claims court to settle the dispute. On the other hand, my wife and I were discussing on how we approach the matter. Bottom line is, these are money. God provided us with this amount. Also, bringing someone to court is not our cup of Christianity, not considering the stress that goes with it. Though it may be unfair, we were ready to lose the whole amount of the deposit. If they will say we did not fight for our right then it may be said so. But we do not own those funds, God owns them. If the sellers think they are entitled to the funds, then maybe they needed it for something. At the end, the sellers gave us about ten percent of the deposit.
God owns silver and gold. He provides for His people. If other people need it, we give it even we worked for it. We do not have bragging rights on anything that He has given. Anything He has given may be taken away anytime. However our security is we have a God who owns it all. He will continue to provide. He will continue to bless. He will continue shower us with what we need.
He owns silver and gold. And He owns us.
More than silver and gold, we are precious to Him. His heart is filled for our attention not of sparkles of gold nor brightness of silver.
More precious than silver and gold is our God. No amount of money can complete us. No asset can satisfy us. Only through Him we have life.
We are to Him, more precious than silver and gold. He is to us, more precious than silver and gold.
He summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases… Luke 9:1
Can you guess where this article going to?
Jesus called the Twelve. And then, He gave them the power and authority to drive out demons and heal the sick. Jesus did not provided more grace to Peter since Peter is the rock. Jesus did not give more power to John since John is the beloved disciple. Jesus did not bless Thomas more gifts even if Thomas will doubt later. Jesus did not held back something to someone. He gave equal blessing to everyone. He gave equal grace to everyone. He gave equal power to everyone. No disciple is greater or lesser. What James has that is what Judas has. The same power in Andrew is in Matthew. The healing gift of Mark is the same healing grace of Philip.
This gives us more than what Jesus gave them. It gives us confidence. It gives us courage. We can do what our leaders can do. We can do what our members can do. We are given the same blessings. We are given the same grace and power. We are provided with the same Spirit. It will take yielding to His power and strength to do so, of course.
No one can say, “I can’t stand up and preach like Edwin.” No one may think, ‘If I only have the same grace like Benedict, I can lead the church.” No one can put down himself, “I am called to serve only in the chairs ministry.” No one can lift himself, “I am called to higher level of service.”
You have what others have. Others have what you have. Of God’s power and grace, we are provided with equal portion.
As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him. Matthew 9:9
…..he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.
Are you on your workplace now? Are you on your post? Maybe you are sitting or standing. Well, here is a good news. Jesus has His eyes on you. Just as He saw Matthew, Jesus sees you. Not to guard your actions or words. Not to audit your behavior. He has His eyes on you for you are in His heart. He has His eyes on you for He has called you where you are. Your workplace is your altar. Your workplace is His cathedral. His presence is in your work and workplace.
…..He said to him, “Follow me.”
Follow Jesus in your work. Whatever your profession is, our call is to be obedient to Jesus. It is easier to follow Christ when you are in church or community but this obedience is challenged mainly in workplaces especially when you work secularly. His grace surmounts where our loyalty to Him is confronted in our workplaces. Commit to His commandments while you are in your work. Observe His ways in doing your work. Go after Jesus’ promotion rather than your promotion.
And he got up and followed him…….
Matthew stood up. You can stand up, too. Be on the offense rather than to be in the defensive side. Take initiative, go beyond your job description. Complement and compliment others rather than compete with others. Do not allow wrongdoings find you sitting down. By His strength, stand up when a green joke is thrown. Stand up when a negative thought is in mind. Stand up when an urge for using office supplies for personal reasons is felt. Stand up when your office man-time is inefficient. Stand up when a co-worker whispers a gossip. Stand up when argument needs a peacemaker. Stand up and follow Jesus.
Jesus called you to be at your workplace. He is calling you to follow Him in your work. Your work is your worship to Him.
Work-ship the Lord!
……who provided for them out of their resources. Luke 8:3
She cooked our meals for the day. She did our laundry for the week and iron them when dry. She kept our house tidy and neat. She acted like our mother. No, she is not our mother. She is our Ate Amy. One of the two older sisters. Since we were eight growing kids in the family, she has to step up. Also, since our Ate Nette can’t hear nor speak, Ate Amy has to be the “oldest sister”. Let me reiterate my point. We have always have a good start in the morning at school because of the fried eggs she prepared in our breakfast table. We have always looked good in our school uniforms because of her hands at work. We always have time to work our own stuff because she had to do chores for us. She all did this as she went through school up to its completion. And when she landed to her secular job, she gave a financial cushion to the family. In the absence of our loving parents and caring aunt, she is the glue which holds our family together. She provided out of her time and pleasure so we may get our feet to stand. She has provided out of her own so we may fly and achieve. And she is fulfilled at the background so we can take the forefront.
As Jesus and His disciples preached and proclaimed, there were women and other nameless people who provided for them so they may do their mission. These people gave out of their own resources. Maybe they pooled their money to fund the mission. Maybe they pooled their time so they can work on something for the mission to expand. They provided so others may provided. They worked so other may work. They responded to their call so others may fulfill their call. They supported so others may give support. They were in the background so others may be at the forefront.
Can you think of something else you can provide so others may provide? Do you think you can give something so others may do their service?
You can be the wind under someone’s wings.
Give out of your resources. Provide out of your own. Be fulfilled at the background.
Afterward he journeyed from one town and village to another, preaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God. Luke 8:1
The traveling salesman problem. Yeah, it is a college course problem where the salesman who travels along several towns and must pass all towns minimizing distance covered throughout the travel. As he passes through one town, he looks at other options where to go next, keeping in mind he must find the next shortest distance from where he is. Accordingly, this problem can be solved by many optimization techniques. Bottom line is, the fabled salesman must minimize his travel no matter what process of solution is utilized.
Jesus traveled from one town to another. And in His travel, I must be sure that he is not minimizing something else but Jesus is maximizing His reach. He is not after decreasing His distance but He is increasing the number of people who would turn to the good news of the kingdom of God. And Jesus does not keep an algorithm to follow just plain and simple proclamation of the gospel. Further, this is where it comes personal, Jesus travels with us. He journeys with us. Maximizing His grace and love to wherever we are. If you are in your village of joy, He shares with your gladness. He is into your town of serenity when you need rest from distress. When you are stuck in your worry town, He stays to be your stronghold. He travels where our life places us.
He journeys with us. He travels with us. His purpose is to maximize His presence in our lives. He is our traveling God.