The heavens declare the glory of God; the sky proclaims its builder’s craft. One day to the next conveys that message; one night to the next imparts that knowledge. There is no word or sound; no voice is heard; Yet their report goes forth through all the earth, their message, to the ends of the world. Psalms 19:2-4
The skies are consistently silent. The skies show up to tell God’s glory. From day to night we are covered with the tremendous message of God’s magnificence. The design of the skies reveals His being God. It provides us the message of God’s consistent love for His people. Day in and day out the skies peeks into our eyes and hearts. No need for pulpit. No need for pouncing of words and works. No need for rhymes. No need for analogies to drive home a point. No need for powerful verbal oration. No need for gifted speaker. The skies reach all points of the earth. The muted preaching of who God is brought to all peoples and all nations.
How I wish we are like that!
No words. No sound. No voice. Yet may our lives resound God’s glory. By the way we live our lives we proclaim God’s excellent plan for his people. With the way we build our families, we exalt God’s name above all names. With the way we relate with our spouses, with the way we take care of our children, we give Him powerful worship. With the way we approach our work, may He be enthroned in our dedication and focus. With the way we involved ourselves in community, may His light shine. That God’s message of hope and love reach the corners of our daily routines.
May the grace of the skies be given among us for we need to be silent preachers.
Those who go forth weeping, carrying sacks of seed, Will return with cries of joy, carrying their bundled sheaves. Psalm 126:6
I was discussing with a brother how our brothers and sisters from Angeles City in Pampanga are making an impact wherever God has planted them. If they are in United Arab Emirates (UAE), they serve zealously in Ang Lingkod ng Panginoon (Lingkod) whether in Abu Dhabi or Dubai. If they work in Singapore, you will be inspired the way they continue to love Jesus through Lingkod-Singapore. And if they have stayed in Angeles City, the brothers and sisters bring God’s light through various communities. They serve in Christ’s Youth in Action (CYA) in Pampanga universities and colleges, Lingkod-Angeles or Lingkod-City of San Fernando and establishing a covenant community called “Bale ning Guinu” (House of God).
Remembering back and looking forward , I’ve realized this is the case of from seeds to sheaves. God has blessed and is continuously blessing our hearts to hunger for Him and spread His word wherever we found ourselves. God’s faithful nourishment in our life with Him is unfolding the harvest from seed to sheaves. By His strength, loving God and loving one another and living in a way of life He has called for us, the sacks of seed planted have now harvest of sheaves. And His harvest comes in bundles. Bundled in Angeles City. Bundled in City of San Fernando. Bundled in UAE. Bundled in Singapore.
God is not finished yet. God is bundling His harvest somewhere else.
We eagerly pray and wait for more seeds to become sheaves.
He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring, for he himself is beset by weakness. Hebrews 5:2
My seven year old daughter Bless was crying in front of me as she tells me she is scared. She remembers ghost stories she heard from a friend and when it came for her bedtime, she was startled. She tells me that when she closed her eyes, she sees the characters in the stories. She even requested that I stay with her throughout the night. At first I was telling her this is so non-sense. I was telling her that ghosts are not real and even if they are, our God is more powerful over these spirits. But I had this moment to take myself aback. She has a situation here. In her own world, she is scared. In her reality, she needed a father. This is her weakness by this instance. At this time, words will not comfort her. My understanding and patience will.
I myself have weaknesses. The men and women who have pastored me are not perfect. It takes one to understand one. It takes one to deal patiently with one. It takes one to accept one. If my leaders have been judgmental of my ignorance or errors, then I am not writing this. I would have gone astray, if they pinned me down when my face is facing the ground. I have grown because they were patient with me in the event of my immaturity. I have soared because they accepted my defects. They loved me in spite of my imperfections. They understood. They stayed beside me.
Members have weaknesses. Leaders have weaknesses, too.
Parishioners have weaknesses. Pastors have weaknesses, too.
We deal patiently with one another.
On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, son of David, have pity on me.” Mark 10:47
He was blind but can hear and can speak. And Bartimaeus capitalized on those capabilities to be close to Jesus. He did not allow his blindness take away his other senses. He did not see. He heard. He cried out. He got close to Jesus. Bart made use of his available capabilities rather than focus on his incapability.
God gives each of us gifts. He blesses us with skills. He provides capabilities for us to be close to Him. Or to make others be close to Him. But often times, we find ourselves focusing on what we do not have rather than utilizing what we have. When this happens, we cripple ourselves even if we can walk. We are paralyzed even if we can run.
Do not let your own “blindness” stop you from hearing Jesus is near.
Do not allow you own “blindness” stop you from crying out for help to Jesus.
Do not allow you own “blindness” stop you from doing what you can do to be close to Jesus.
You have more than what you think you don’t have.
Be smart like Bart.
I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! Luke 12:49
When was the last time you were on fire for God?
Let me guess…..
- When you attended your Life in the Spirit Seminar
- When you participated in that life changing retreat
- When you were inspired by a gifted speaker’s message
- In one prayer meeting when you just felt like raising your heart and hands to God
- During one of your support group meetings
- In your own time alone with God
Do you still remember that moment?
Reality is how hard to keep that fire burning in our lives. We tend to depend more on our feelings – if our feelings are not high then we seem to extinguish the fire. When life problems and difficulties arise in our situations that fire gets covered. When God turns a deaf ear to our petitions that fire produces white smoke. If the community you are involved with does not support you, the fire gets watered. Keeping the fire blazing and burning is anchored not in our feelings or circumstances but in our deliberate decision to love God and be faithful to Christ.
Jesus has come to set fire in this world. And He was wishing that fire to already ablaze. Maybe, He is pertaining to our situation. He has given us that fire yet it is not ablaze. He has come to bring us light yet that light is not translucent.
Jesus’ decision is to set our hearts on fire for God.
To keep that fire blazing and burning in us – it’s our decision.
There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him… Luke 10:25
Jesus was tested on this day. By a scholar. By an expert of the law. He was testing if Jesus knew the law. This scholar was there to ask questions if Jesus knew what is loving God all about. He gave an exam to Jesus if Jesus knew who is our neighbor. His questions were not innocent, his questions were with malice. He was not looking for answers to his questions, he was taking advantage of Jesus.
Often times we are like that. We think highly of ourselves and we put God to test. We test Him if He will do our supplications. We give Him conditions. Conditions that if He fulfill this or that, He gets something from us. We take advantage of God. We catch ourselves saying;
If You heal me….I will serve You.
If You give this job….I will be loyal.
If You solve this problem….I will commit to You.
If You provide for us….I will be faithful.
Can’t we be His servants despite our bodies suffer?
Can’t we show Him loyalty despite our work is not our dream job?
Can’t we commit our love to Him despite life is a cycle of problems?
Can’t we be faithful despite our hands are not full?
Don’t put Him to test. Don’t give Him questions. For God is the answer.
….one’s life does not consist of possessions…. Luke 12:14
They had it all. Big house. Vehicles. Latest appliances. Signature shirts. Booming business inside Clark Air Base. The oldest kid in the family was a friend of mine. I used to go to their place and I was always in awe of what and how much they possessed. Soon, Pinatubo erupted and it washed Clark Air Base, making it like a deserted desert. As soon as the Americans fled so their possessions went. For the coming months and years, this family had difficulty making ends meet. The father turned into drunkard because of life’s frustrations. My friend was addicted to drugs and alcohol and did not finish college due to early marriage.
Jesus preached – one’s life does not consist of possessions. Is this the reason why a house, built through the years, can just be swiped away by flood in a matter of hours. Is this the reason why a luxury car, earned through working hard counting years, will just be turned upside down by a flood in a matter of seconds? Is this the reason why any man-made infrastructure can not withstand any natural force at any given day?
Honestly, I do not know. Possessions in life are not evil. Making possessions in life as your top agenda is.
Friends, look at possessions as passers by. They come and go. You can have them now but tomorrow they may not be yours. They have your name now but tomorrow they belong to someone. You can’t hold on to your possessions. All these things are temporal.
Jesus stays. He does not come and go. If we have Him in our hearts today, we will still have Him in our hearts tomorrow and any day after. You can hold on to Jesus. He is eternal.
Jesus holds on to us. May we hold on to Jesus. Amen.