Monthly Archives: January 2011

Fan the Flame

For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 2 Tim. 1:6

Filipinos are experts on this.

A lot of us used or uses firewood for cooking. Firewood coming from fallen branches and twigs from the backyard of your own or from the yard of your neighbors. Firewood coming from trees which were pruned or cut to expose the house from the street. So, we have a natural no-cost fuel for cooking, which is by the way can be harmful to the environment. But it takes effort to cook using firewood. You have to blow it. That’s the tube is for. However, this approach will give you a dizzy head. So, our friendly fan comes in. To make or to keep the flame burning, you have to fan it. You have to stroke your hand holding the fan up and down, left and right for the flame to cook your meal. There is a certain time the flame would die down and your hand automatically finds the fan. Once again, you fan the flame.

Does Paul has Filipino blood lines in his veins? He instructs Timothy to do this.

He instructs us to do this. He knows you need to fan the flame in you. The flame of God in you doesn’t die down by itself, but it is decreased by your human nature or wrong turn of events in your life. You get tired. You don’t have patience. You clamor into relationship problems. You get exit papers from the manager’s office. Or you come to the job daily of which you are not happy after all.  Or you might be young and it seems the race is too long to run. Or you might be old and it seems you have wasted too much time ignoring the Lord. The fact that your career is not going upward but down can minimize the flame in you. These can make you dizzy and harm your personal and spiritual environment.

Three words of advice. Fan the flame.

  • Pray daily. Spend a good amount of time with Jesus (15 minutes to start).
  • Read God’s word daily. Reflect on the daily mass readings.
  • Find support and give support. Be in touch with fellow followers.
  • Participate in the life of the church. Your presence is appreciated in any church event.
  • Tell someone about Jesus and his love by your words and actions. Love them like Jesus. Speak with them like Jesus.

Don’t be raw or medium cooked. Be fully alive through the fire of God’s Spirit. Fan the flame!

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Ending of Mending

He walked along from there and saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John. They were in a boat, with their father Zebedee, mending their nets. He called them, and immediately they left their boat and their father and followed him. Matthew 4:21-22

The brothers were mending their nets.

Of course, they are fishermen. Mending nets might be before and after putting the nets into the deep to catch fishes. For fishermen, it means a lot. They need to have healthy, holes free, strong and dependable nets in anticipation for a great haul of catch. So, they fix it. They restore it. They tie the loosened. They patch the holes. They prepare and repair their main tool. They identify where it needs to be whole again.

But the mending has an ending.

Jesus calls the ones who are mending. He called them to follow him. At once, they left whatever they are mending. Is this a sign that they found Somebody who will cover the holes not in their nets but in their hearts? With no hesitation, they followed him, who will make them whole. They followed the One who can and who will complete them. Jesus who will mend anything broken and destroyed, and make them new.

Are you mending? A broken heart. A shattered career. A marriage about to go in separate ways. A church full of holes. An unstable boy-girl relationship. A ministry which is in pieces.

Tired of all these mending? End the mending by following. Allow Jesus to bring you to fullness. Fix to him your eyes, give to him your heart. He will make one and will unite divided dreams, relationships and families. He alone will complete you. No life broken in thousand pieces he can’t mend. He builds up. He restores. He refreshes. He revives. He completes.

For James and John, and for you, there’s an ending to the mending.

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God is Out of His Mind

When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.” Mark 3:21

Jesus came home. And he is out of his mind.

Instead of spending time with his family and relatives, he continued to do his work. Clean the unclean. Heal the sick. Teach the disciples. No wonder, even his family spent their time outside of the house.

They might have been longing to have time with him but how can they? The house was packed where the crowd gathered that it was impossible for them to take a bite. Maybe it should be a vacation turned into a vocation. Maybe it should be a family time converted into a ministry time. Maybe that’s why his relatives were quick, “He is out of his mind.”

He still is.

He loves us in spite of faltering in loving him. His faithfulness is constant even yours is not. His providence abounds in a recession deep economy. His guidance still directs despite you wander like sheep. His grace still available yet you don’t make time for him. His hand still reaching out when you keep your hands in your pockets. A God out of his mind. A God who is crazy, crazy for you.

You can be, too.

Love your enemies. Pray for the company to prosper after they laid you off. Speak well of the people who treated you badly. Be patient and teach your daughters to do this and to do that for the nth time. Volunteer your time to the inner city missions and squeeze it in your daily double job itinerary. Continue supporting a charity or a radio ministry even if you don’t have a steady income. Live a life pleasing to God not pleasing men. Sing for God even when people say you are out of tune. Be out of your mind for you are out of this world.

Praise him! For he is a God, who does wonders for us out of love, is out of his mind.

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You Are Wanted

Jesus went up the mountain and summoned those whom he wanted  and they came to him. Mark 3:13

How refreshing to know you don’t need me,                                                                    How amazing to find that you want me…                                                                                    -words from the song “In me” by Casting Crowns.

Those words ring true.

When Jesus called his disciples this is very clear. Jesus did not need them. He called them because he wanted them.

Awesomely refreshing. Amazingly freeing.Why?

His work will continue even without you. His love will be shared with you in the absence list. His word will be preached even if your mouth is closed or your blog is inactive. His salvation will be received in spite of you not giving something. Without you, Jesus’ work and world is complete. It is not dependent in you, it is dependent in him.

Yet, he wants you. He wants you to follow him, to be his disciple. He wants you to walk on water with him. He wants you to distribute the food he multiplied. He wants you to see how the lame is running and jumping. He wants you to experience how he transfigures. He wants you to be on his team. He wants you to be on his side. He still wants you to stand up for him. He wants you to be in his church. He wants you to be in his support group. He wants you to be in his mission team. He wants you to serve the hungry and the poor. He wants you to provide shelter to the children in the streets.

Come to him. Good to know you are not needed. Better to know you are wanted.

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Continue Loving, Continue Serving

For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love you have demonstrated for his name by having served and continuing to serve the holy ones. Hebrews 6:10

Heroic acts of people were not have gone unnoticed in the recent tragic Tucson shooting. Time magazine picked up these stories

76 year old Dorwan Stoddard made a sand bag out of himself to shield his wife from the wandering lethal bullets.

Another loving husband, George Morris, did the same thing. He got two bullets in his body but another escaped and killed his wife.

Four men and a woman did not think twice to stop the shooter. They put their lives on the line not only for them but for others to live.

And who would forget Daniel Hernandez, intern for the Congresswoman Giffords who was shot, he rushed to do first aid on Giffords.

You know what? God picks up your heroic acts, too.

He noticed the times you arranged the chairs for the prayer meeting. He knows how many times you brought food to the hungry. He hears the songs you sing in the music ministry. He notes the way you go out of your comfort zone to bring a friend to the faith. He remembers the events when you gave words of encouragement even if you are discouraged. He doesn’t forget when you paid the bus fare of someone who was raring to go home yet had no money.

Your service out of love for him and his children are bookmarked by him. Like highlighted words in a book, your work to forward his kingdom is magnified in his eyes. He is a just God who gives credit to where it is due.

It gives us affirmation in our devotion. It encourages us to keep on loving and serving. It gives us this joy that in every small or big charity we do in our church and outside of it would count in God’s memorabilia.

Continue to love. Continue to serve. Continue.

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Make a Path

As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath, his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain. Mark 2:23

No road ahead?

No problem. Jesus can make one. Jesus will make one.

For you.

For you who maybe has been stuck in that health problem for some years now. For you whose career has stopped at one point and stagnated like dark water in the sewer. For the couple whose marriage has no life, has come to a dead end. The job you love to go to showed no way. Or maybe your finances seems to can’t go the distance.

Let’s read the verse again.

First, Jesus and the disciples made a path. There was no way, no path, no road. But they followed Jesus closely. They made a path because Jesus led them to that path. They walked where he walked. This you must do. Stick with the path Maker. Focus on him. Don’t lose sight of him where he goes, for where he goes, you must go.

Second, they picked heads of grain along the path. They picked what’s good for them. They did not pick dirt or inedible parts of the grain. They fed themselves with what’s good and what’s right. You must, too. Along the way, pick what is only good. Do not pick the bad things. Do not dwell on the hardships or difficulties. Feed yourself with what is right, with what is holy and what is noble.

If it seems your life is parked or your world have stopped, wait for it. Wait for it.

Jesus is making a path.

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Picnic

So he gave orders to have them sit down in groups on the green grass. Mark 6:39

Clearly it’s a picnic.

Where do you go for picnic? Do you go where the soil is exposed? Do you eat and have time together over brown dead grass? No.

You go to where the grass is green. You go where the sand is covered with that refreshing sight of two to three inches high pasture. This is where Jesus brings us. Green grass. A picnic.

They were without food and they were with thousands of hungry people. But they were with Jesus. He provides when there is lack. He allows you to sit on fresh place in the midst of uncertainty. He gives direction where you are directionless. He sees you are going hungry and because he is the Shepherd, he resolves to satisfy you. He sees you are against the wall and he makes a miracle for that wall to collapse.

He brings you to a picnic…

  • After a week of being laid off…
  • No responders to your job applications…
  • When trips to the hospital are daily routine…
  • Years of praying for a family member to come to him is becoming tiring…
  • Relationships inside and outside your home are all like chaotic market streets…

More than food, he multiplies his strength in you. More than filling your stomach, he fills you with his grace and love. More than satisfying your ambitions, he provides the passion for you to fulfill your vocations.

No need to panic. Enjoy the picnic.

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