Monthly Archives: May 2010

Ahead

They were on the way, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus went ahead of them. Mark 10:32a

Jesus and his disciples were going up to Jerusalem. They were moving from one place to another. They were traveling from town to town. However, this is different. Beyond this verse, Jesus predicts He will be handed over to church authorities and bring Him to His tragic death. In this part of the journey, as with other journeys, Jesus went ahead of them. As opposed with other travels, Jesus knew what is ahead and He still walked ahead. Not as much as difficult as compared with other ways they have walked, Jesus knew His men needed Him to be ahead. They let Him walked ahead. Peter or John or James or any other disciple did not have the guts to take the lead. And nobody should.

Including us.

Are you on your way to some place where you are going up? To a place that may have resemblance like Jerusalem. A place where you maybe ridiculed. An event where your faith will be mocked. A situation where you know life will be hard fought. A family concern where death is on the front page. An employment which drains your passion away. A community life where some things are very uncommon. Your pair of feet steps with difficulty as you are going up. Allow Jesus to go ahead. Let Him take the lead. Let Jesus guide us. Allow Him to show the way. More than anytime, you need Jesus to go ahead. More than any place, you need Jesus to take the lead. More than anybody, Jesus knows what is ahead.

Going up to Jerusalem must have Jesus, no other else, going ahead.

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Keep Calling

And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more, “Son of David, have pity on me.” Mark 10:48

He kept calling. They want him silent. They tried to make him quiet but not quite. All the more he kept calling Jesus. He called Jesus again and again and again. Many, not only one or a few, rebuked him. Many may have thought he was not worth of His time because these many have not given him time. However, Bartimaeus’ focus was on the One he was calling not on the many who were blocking. It is as if he kept redialing the same number up until the other side of the line answers. It is as if there were other parties on the line yet he kept redialing.

Bartimaeus kept calling because he kept trusting.

We should do this, too.  Keep calling Jesus all the more. Doubts may rebuke you. Worries may silent you. People may come up in your face and say, “It’s not possible!” You, yourself have dark clouds of skepticism your prayer may not happen. Circumstances all around you shouts a clear NO. In spite of these many, keep calling. Keep your knees bended. Keep your eyes on the One who makes impossible possible. Keep calling on the One who makes a way when there is no way. Keep calling Jesus who multiplies a lunch into the grandest of feast. Keep calling Jesus who supposedly swam but walked on water.

Keep calling Jesus…for righteous living in an unrighteous world, for faithfulness in an unbelieving society, for grace and strength over your weakness, for a sibling or a friend to give his/her life to God, for a job you dream of which you wrote on that elementary slum book, for a bedridden parent to stand up again, for a lack in finances to be filled up, for a mission still impossible.

We keep calling because we keep trusting.

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First is Last

…”But many that are first will be last, and (the) last will be first.” Mark 10:31

He was superman. Dwight Howard came to play. 32 points, 16 rebounds and 5 block shots playing for forty three minutes. He was dominant. He dunked the ball. He rebounded. He followed up his or his teammates’ misses. He was almost perfect in his post plays. His foot work was simply spectacular. He was unstoppable before a Boston Celtics known physical defense.  His team, Orlando Magic, was one defeat shy of being booted out from the playoffs and he made sure to cancel that. He played his heart out. This is the Dwight Howard everybody was waiting for.

As the best player that night, Dwight was interviewed over national television. The court side reporter asked him about his superb performance on court, before any comments, Dwight gave glory to God. Before he boasted of his stats, he boast of God’s performance. He elevated God with his elevation. He put God on the box score above his name. His numbers spoke of him yet he spoke of God.

Dwight was first tonight based on what he did.  Dwight was last tonight based on what God did.

Jesus said, “..many that are first will be last…” Dwight Howard is one of the many.

May God give us the grace to be one of those many.

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Shrink

…for I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God. Acts 20:27

This is not a good situation. You are trying to wear a pair of pants which you just wore a week ago. Seven days ago, it perfectly fits you. Now, after laundry service, the trousers are two or three inches short of your legs’ length.  It shrunk. It shortened. When it’s fine it covers what it suppose to cover. When it shrunk, it does not serve it’s purpose. It can’t wrap what’s suppose to wrap. Generally this happens when the washing instructions are not followed. Some clothes require cold washing. Some must be immersed in hot water. A clothing will surely shrink if you don’t follow the instructions.

This is not the situation of Paul. He told his audience, “I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God.” He did not shrink as a messenger. He covered everything that has to be proclaimed. He spoke with completion. He begun and ended without leaving any details for his listeners to hear. He took every opportunity as his last stand when he declared God’s plan. His message did not shrink. Paul proclaimed the entire plan of God. A message with no postscript. A paragraph without footnotes. A book without references. His message about God’s plan is complete. The key here is this – Paul followed the instructions.

May we be like Paul. Messengers who will not shrink. Servants who will complete the service. Servants who will start and finish the race. Servants who will cover the uncovered.

May our message be like his. May our lives spell God’s plan from A to Z. May our words and works reflect His face, fully not partly. A message where God is a God who completes.

Be sure we don’t shrink, let’s follow His instructions.

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Openness

When they came to him, he addressed them, “You know how I lived among you the whole time from the day I first came to the province of Asia.” Acts 20:18

Privacy. We treasure it. We keep it. We procure it. It’s one thing everyone would like to store. You don’t share your address to everyone. We don’t share our pictures on Facebook to anyone. We put walls in our internet usage. Passwords are controlling entry to your email or computer. Life locks are alpha-numeric or conventional. Whether you are rich or poor, it’s one resource which keeps us secure.

In the secular society, this makes sense. In living with the people of God, it doesn’t.

Public life not privacy drives our church and community. Paul lived this way. “You know how I lived among you the whole time from the day I first came to the province of Asia.”, he said.

  • Ephesians knew how Paul lived.  They knew him. They knew how he lived amongst them. How he worshiped. How he followed Jesus. How he is empowered by the Spirit. They knew where he lives. They knew his daily activities. He told them about his passion. He shared to them his life. They knew his weaknesses. They knew how he lived the Gospel.
  • Paul opened his life for them, the whole time. There was consistency in Paul’s publicity of his life. Paul was always showing the Ephesians each minute, each hour, day in and day out. He did not leave any second for his life not to be known and not to be shared. He did not keep a secret.
  • He did this from the very first day he came to them. Now that’s the test for openness. First day at school makes us awkward. First day at work makes us careful. Paul’s first day in Ephesus? He begun to make his life known. Not awkward but forward. Not careful but careless.

Make your life known among the brothers and sisters. Share your life. Inspire them by showing them how you live. Be open to bring to the light the darkness in your life.

Our closeness with God’s people depends with our openness.

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Gifts

Father, they are your gift to me. John 17:24a

This is a scene from Victorious, a show over at Nickelodeon.

It was Trina’s birthday. Her sister Victoria or Tori prepared a song for her on her big day. Tori was accompanied by a band and back-ups, all her friends. It was a good song sung by a good singer. “Where’s my gift?” Trina asked after Tori went to hug her. “It was the song?” Tori explained. Trina replied, “The song?” Tori said, “Yeah, I hope you like it.” Then Trina enumerated, “Can I wear it? Can I eat it? Can I flaunt it? Can I use it? Will it make me feel good?” Tori thought she made music for Trina.

This is a scene from our daily life.

You wake up with your imperfect spouse. You eat breakfast with your clumsy kids. You walk by your grumpy neighbor. You push the car breaks for a driver who cuts your way. You sit with your insensitive co-worker. You deal with your demanding boss. You get an email from a stubborn brother in community. You receive a news about a friend gossiping about you. You think these are not good gifts from a good God. “Where’s my gifts?” you asked God. God answers, “You met them. You heard from them. You bumped into them.” You enumerate to God, “Gifts? Them? Can I flaunt them? They did not make me feel good.” God thought He made music for you.

Jesus acknowledged the Father’s gifts for Him. Fishermen and some ordinary men. Judas who will betray Him. Peter who will deny Him three times. Thomas who will doubt about His rising. Crowds who are by His side during miracles but absent during His suffering. He called them gifts. He accepted them as gifts. Jesus knew God’s gifts will help fulfill God’s plan.

Every person in our life is a gift from God. We don’t dictate from the Giver who will be given to us.  The Giver of the gifts knows whom we need to shape His plan for us. They are His gifts to us. There are some whom we want. There are some whom we don’t want but we need. However, every gift makes music in our lives.

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Loved

This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. John 15:12

My siblings taking turns to arrange and prepare the burial. My siblings taking turns to give my wife some good company. My siblings providing for our needs.

My wife’s relatives keeping her alive and kicking.

My boss nodded as I asked if I can work at home in the afternoon to look after my daughters who were out of their classes at two o’clock pm.

Two elderly neighbors whom I have not met came to console.

Four neighbors, one at a time, knocked on our doors to bring a dish and a cheer for our family.

My Facebook page was swamped with sympathies and pledge of prayers.

Brothers and sisters asking us what they can do for us, willing to stand-by if needed.

A family, friend of our family, invited us for a dinner and cooked our breakfast for tomorrow.

A card in the mail, coming from my office mate, with comforting message.

My relatives at the other side of the coast called and soothed our situation.

A Filipino nurse gentle yet effective in caring for Praise at the emergency room.

Friends came to help me for Bless’ hair arrangement for her first communion and accompany us in the ceremony.

At the moment we heard the death of my mother-in-law, love flooded our hearts. Love knocked on our door. Love gave way for our schedules. Love gave time. Love prayed. Love supported. Love inspired. Love took time to cook a dish or two for our family. Love called over the phone to check us out if we are doing all right. Love assured. Love one another.

Have they heard of the commandment? Maybe, maybe not. One thing is sure, they practiced it. And we were loved.

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