All that you see here–the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down. Luke 21:6
I was riding with my boss, Mr. Rolando Bacani, and we were going to work when he asked me, “Did you know what happened in New York?” Since we are in the Philippines, I had no idea about it so I said, “No.” My boss continued our conversation and told me that there was a massive power blackout in the Northeastern part of the United States. That was in August of the year 2003. We were working on the power system operations side of the largest grid in the Philippines, Mr. Bacani as the Vice-President of the group is well versed on this kind of events. He told me there was one time he was presenting in Malacanang Palace about minimizing the risk of blackouts in the Philippines, he was asked if the government invested large amount of money in the grid if it would eliminate blackout. He replied a flat NO to the inquirer. He said any man-made infrastructure is deemed to fail at some point. He elaborated whatever intervention(s) done or will be done will not prevent any synthetic system to succumb given some time.
And he concurs with Jesus. Jesus said anything that we see here will be thrown down. Everything that we can look upon will fall down. A stone standing upon a stone will falter. Anything that is seen standing for now will kiss the earth. And Jesus was specific, “All that you see….”
So what will remain standing? All that is unseen. The unseen will not be thrown down. The unseen will not fall down.
God. God’s forgiveness. God’s mercy. God’s hands. Faith in Christ. Repentance. Hope in God. Love for God and others. Dependence in God. Zeal for His house.
And what does this tells us? Look for the unseen. Believe in what is unseen. Cling on Who is unseen.
Make a choice today. Seen or Unseen?
He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.” Luke 21:3-4
We were settled as a family. Before coming to the United States in 2007, we have had a comfortable life in the Philippines. We have our own home. I have a stable job which was giving me a promising career. My family is well-off despite economic issues surrounding the country. As a family we had no problems with physical health and enjoyed fruitful relationships with our relatives, catholic community and friendship circles. When I got a job offer to work in the US, we felt this was God’s direction. Uprooting us from our comfortable life and a stable livelihood required more discernment however we decided to respond.
As we settled in our new home after living for two years in the United States, I thanked and praise God for enabling us. As the days went by, our family is living comfortable. There may be some new challenges in maintaining the house and paying for it yet my wife and daughters find haven in this place. My job is stable and the company I work for is reacting to the recession positively. My daughters are well adjusted with their schooling in our place. We have found new relationships with brothers and sisters who came from the same singles professionals group we used to be with in the Philippines.
And then I reflected on this story of the widow who gave her whole livelihood in God’s treasury. Her two cents may be too insignificant and may not be needed considering the amount that might be in the offertory but Jesus notices she gave her all and she gave it whole.
And the scenario gave me the usual chill. It’s about giving your all and whole to God. It may be insignificant and may not be needed as it seems but Jesus notices. We were settled in the Philippines. We were looking forward to stay put, but God said “Pack up!” and we responded by giving our all and whole. Now we are settled in the US, we are looking forward to stay put, if and when God says “Pack up!” and I pray may God give us the grace to respond and give our all and whole.
What do you want me to do for you? He replied, “Lord, please let me see.” Luke 18:41
I am not physically blind. However, sometimes I do not see. In the past weeks, I have been receiving a good amount of personal preaching from my wife. She has been reminding me of God’s work and providence in our lives. I was worrying about how we can keep our finances within our control ever since we moved in into our new home. We have to put some savings into necessary maintenance of the house. We are paying our loan in the Philippines. We have some outstanding balances in our credit cards. I was worrying what if the tax credit will not be approved? As the company I work for is tightening its belt, I was thinking how can we get through? And my wife took the pulpit. She told me we have gone this far, she can’t see any reason why God will not lead us now. She said God has given us these blessings, and it would be illogical if God will not continue to bless us to take care of His blessings. She preached to me to keep believing and being still in these times and wait for God’s hand to work.
Just like the blind man in Jericho, I have my share of rebuke. My faith is being rebuked with human understanding. My dependence in God is being silenced by laws of economics. But unlike in Jericho, Jesus is not just passing by in my life He is here to stay with me. What more can I ask for! And as the blind man called out on Jesus all the more as he was told to be silent, the more I should believe and put my faith in Jesus in the midst my own understanding and economics theory.
The man from Jericho and me, we are both blind to an extent. And with Jesus asking, “What do you want me to do for you?” We share a common reply, “Lord, please let me see.”
And then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in the clouds’ with great power and glory… Mark 13:26
At first hindsight, it would be a very scary time. With the tribulation ending, the sky will not emit light so as with the moon. Darkness will cover the universe. Darkness will cover us. Light will come only from artificial sources. The stars will lose their place from the heavens and find other space to fill. The elements in the universe will move as though they are shaking. It seems order will be no more. Falling and shaking will take more power over gravity. And this scene scares the better out of us.
But it should not.
Because the Son of Man comes riding on the clouds with greater power and glory after that scene!
And because this will be the end and this will be the beginning.
Give me anything that hurt you most, death, sickness, broken dysfunctional families, betrayal, poverty, indifference, self-centeredness, greed, unfaithfulness, etc. Give me anything that makes your world, our world imperfect. Give me anything which makes us imperfect. When He comes, all of these things will end. Those things will be memoirs of the past. Those things will have no place in our vocabulary.
Only good things will be experienced when He comes to reign over His elect. Perfection, holiness, life abundance and goodness will begin in us and will have no end. Righteousness, selflessness, single-heartedness and single-mindedness will begin in us and will have no end. We will join Him in His everlasting kingdom.
And this is not a fairy tale. This is reality. This is our reality. When He comes with power and glory, we will live with Him. Ever after.
Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it. Luke 17:33
Identity theft is life theft. In the United States, people prevent their identity from being stolen. A stolen identity is disastrous and very chaotic. You do not know you have this loan from one bank or lending office. Some banks or sellers may visit you in your place and tell you that you owe that much money from them. You might have another credit card in your name that is not with you. Your purchases from your credit card(s) will be highly berserk. When someone steals your identity, they assume your life. They carry your name. They pose to be you. If not handled well, you may lose your job. You may lose your home. You may lose your life.
In our relationship with God, we are called to lose our identity. We are encouraged to lose our lives for Him. We are not called to save it. We deliberately give our lives to Him, He does not steal it. And when we lose it for Him, we assume Jesus’ life here on earth. We act not on our behalf. We do things His way. We think the way He thinks. We enter the ark and stay inside. We look forward and not turn back, exactly opposite of Lot’s wife. We stay on the housetop, fix our eyes to the heavens, and not secure our earthly belongings inside our house. We continue to work in our mission field and not come back where we have come from. And when we lose our life for Him, He saves it.
Lose it to Him rather than to anyone else.
Through all generations your truth endures; fixed to stand firm like the earth. Psalm 119:90
He had a promising career as an accountant and he was my high school buddy. When he got employed with an industrial facility in our local export processing zone, they picture him to raise the ranks. When a leftist group infiltrated the employees union, he was in the middle. He decided to join the union’s protest strike. He was fired and had a family to feed. He tended his family by driving a public utility vehicle. But then again, the vehicle used for his livelihood, he utilizes when the leftist group had street protest rallies. Once, I approached him why he was wasting his life in a defeated ideology. The ideals of their group had fought for a long time but never had victory. Their leaders succumb and most of the time, leave their troops. The group had changes in faces but their struggle remains in vain. This movement has been toppled in countries which used to be governed by this type of regime. The message they shout does not stand for generations. I told him it’s not worthy of his life.
God’s truth endures forever, through all generations. It is fixed to stand firm. When Jesus died, it was not a defeated feat. No history fact would cite that God and His word surrendered to the forces. Christianity have been questioned and doubted, but it does not diminish its truth. Christians have been persecuted and secluded yet more and more people experience conversion to Christ. Logic has provided a rebuttal to God’s presence yet we still hope in what we do not see or touch. Religions have risen and fallen but the church which Christ built still stands. God’s truth is not toppled. God’s message of love does not fade in the air. God’s truth stands in the face of opposition. His message of truth is fixed to stand firm. It’s not temporary erected, it is permanently upright. It’s unchanging and not variable.
His truth is fixed to stand firm and it’s worthy of our lives.