Monthly Archives: May 2011

Home’s Not Here

In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? John 14:2

I keep telling this to my daughters.

After going abroad, moving out of from the Philippines, we tell them we can come back anytime for a good reason. As immigrants to a foreign country, we still see the place where we live and have a good livelihood as not home. There’s an itch to come back. There’s a seed inside the heart which keeps on growing and yearn to plant one’s feet again to the native soil. We may have a house or a residence yet we look at it as a temporary dwelling. Maybe, that’s why we haven’t let go of our home back in our nation. We still put our time to safeguard our haven through our limited finances and through relatives and friends who are willing to look after our abode. For anytime, for any reason, we will come back for home’s not here.

Jesus keeps telling us this.

There is a dwelling place prepared for us in the Father’s house. The kind of dwelling place prepared by him who has no civil engineering or architecture academics or experience but has love for you. Everything else we live with here on earth is temporary. Nothing is permanent. It can be constructed or destructed in any given time. The place he prepared for us is different. It’s the Father’s house. A home where you can be a child and depend only in him. A home where you will reside ever after.

In this light, Jesus as he prepared a home for us, invites us to look beyond this earthly life. To say words, think thoughts and do acts giving weight to the promise of that place. Everything we do or say or think has eternal consequence. Live for him and look forward living with him in that place he has for us.

Right now, you might have a big mansion or a small hut. A cozy place or an uncomfortable space for your family where you spend most of your time. Remember, this address is temporary. You won’t live here for so long, for home’s not here.

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Fhey It Forward

But Ananias replied, “Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man, what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to imprison all who call upon your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and Israelites, and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name.” So Ananias went and entered the house. Acts 9:13-17a

Being in a community of single professionals, leadership transition was an important matter since the lives of the members are in transition. They get married. They move from one job to another. The are transferred from one branch of their company to another. Most of the time, its the time for the current leader to step down so someone may take his or her place.

So many who are in position or who are responsible in collaborating to choose the next leader among a pool act like Ananiases. They debate the bad sides of the potential leaders. Just like Ananias, they tell about their past not so good experiences with the next would be leaders. They speak of the weaknesses of the people being considered to step up and lead the flock.

You may have undergone this route, Fhey. Brothers and sisters have scrutinized you. Lingkod members may have screened your personality. Leaders may have argued with one another that you maybe the one or not the one. Or you yourself has put yourself through this. You looked at your past sins, why be the branch moderator? You reminded of yourself about your character loopholes, why choose to lead? You are comfortable where you are, so why shake the house? Come to think of it, Paul might have thought this way, why lead the church I used to persecute, why build the church I used to destroy?

Ananias’ realization is this — he is not the one choosing who will be the one but God. This is God’s plan, not Ananias’ and not Paul’s. Ananias responded and Paul responded. God chooses who are the instruments, the instruments make themselves available for God’s work.

The people who chose you to be their moderator did not really choose you. You did not, too. God did. No matter what your past is, he chose you. No matter what your personality is, God chose you. You grew in the community satisfied being on the background but God chose you to take the front line. You are afraid your skills may not be enough but God chose you. You responded to his call and become one with his plan. You make yourself available for his kingdom. God does not look at your skills, he does not evaluate by your preferences, God chose you because he has a plan for you to become his powerful instrument.

Allow the Ananiases to pray for you. Let them lay their hands on you to strengthen you and to remove the scales blocking your vision. Ananias did that to Paul. One of Paul’s strong verse is this, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:14. This was Paul’s direction ever since Damascus. Press on. Give your all to the call. Eyes on the goal. Loving lavishly and serving selflessly.

You can do this for God will empower you. Just always remember one thing, Fhey It Forward.


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Remember Ananias

But Ananias replied, “Lord, I have heard from many sources about this man, what evil things he has done to your holy ones in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to imprison all who call upon your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for this man is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before Gentiles, kings, and Israelites, and I will show him what he will have to suffer for my name.” So Ananias went and entered the house. Acts 9:13-17a

He had thoughts against God’s.

Ananias had to wrestle with the Lord before coming to Saul who was persecuting the growing church. He had valid reasons. Saul has done unholy things to the holy ones. If he’ll go to this man, he is also risking his life, never to see the church grow as he might have imagined. More than that, Ananias might have thought who he was compared to such person of stature in Saul. Will this Saul give me his time or take my life? Will this Saul listen to me or speak to his influence to stop me from breathing?

You know what happened to Paul. Ananias obeyed the Lord and came to Saul. Before Saul became Paul, Ananias the reluctant became Ananias the obedient. Before Paul became an instrument to the Gentiles, Ananias was instrumental for Paul’s conversion. Before Paul wrote the letters we read from the Bible, Ananias’ name is already written in Paul’s heart. Thus when you read how Paul was radical, because a man called Ananias put himself on the line. When you listen to a sermon about Paul’s one heart for God, note there was Ananias who was committed to God alone.

I wonder if my Ananias had the same reaction to God when he felt the urge from God to invite me to this Christian life seminar. He might have told the Lord, its just a waste of time. Edwin will just make fun of me and of the invitation. No way Edwin will respond positively. There’s no chance Edwin will attend or complete the sessions. Not a slightest probability Edwin will take God seriously.

But when he handed me the invitation, I signed in. I don’t remember what transpired over the moment of invitation yet his coming to me made the greatest difference in my entire life. God came to me, and I came to know him. I still work to be radical for him and God is patient with me. I still pray to have a single heart for God and God is enabling me through struggles. All of these changes in my life and experiencing of God’s graces are not reality if my Ananias did not do what God called him to do.

Everyone of us has an Ananias. A man or a woman who heard God’s call for them to come to you. A person who stepped out in faith to tell you about God. A friend who courageously stood up and told you about his life in God. A relative who shared her time with you when you were blind. A neighbor who entered your house and entered your heart by his actions and words rooted in the Lord.

When a Paul preaches, listen to Ananias by his side. When a Paul writes, read Ananias through his letters. When a Paul is remembered, remember Ananias.

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Born of the Spirit

“The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” John 3:8

A  fisherman, rugged physically and more rugged vocally became the shepherd of God’s church. He had no plans  doing so. He was dependent on the lakes who became dependent on God. He catches fish and stays throughout the night for them before bringing the light to men he was fishing. Never thought he would walk only to fall and be saved by his Lord on the same lake where he sailed all his life. Never thought he would stand up before men speaking as God’s witness. Nobody knew he would become like this. Nobody knew where this comes from, and where it goes.

An adulterer, as she was identified. She was all alone, Jesus came to her rescue. She received mercy, he gave it. She followed him until death. Until at the tomb. She was one of the firsts who saw him risen. A sinner becoming God’s messenger of resurrection. A once hopeless one becoming a vessel of hope. The God whom she thought was a gardener is the same God who planted and nourished the seed of faith for her to live a new life. And she lived it. Nobody knew she would become like this. Nobody knew where this comes from, and where it goes.

A persecutor becomes the persecuted. He is Paul who was Saul. He was looking for the followers not to commune with them but to inflict pain until death. However, God was also looking for him. At once, he looked at his Lord, things changed, his heart changed. Paul’s direction turned around. The destroyer of churches is now a builder churches. The biggest enemy of the faith pushes faith to the faithless. He was beacon even when in prison. Toiled as a tent maker to serve the Maker yet his influence was more powerful than when he was in power persecuting the church. Nobody knew he would become like this. Nobody knew where this comes from, and where it goes.

All were born of the Spirit.

Dreaming of a life like theirs? Wake up and end your dream now. Let the dream become a reality. Jesus opened the door for you, “everyone who is born of the Spirit….” Its not exclusive. The casting is not final. You can be one of the everyone.

Be born of God’s Spirit.

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Again

Jesus revealed himself again to his disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. He revealed himself in this way. John 21:1

He reveals himself everyday to her.

He is the man in the movie, “50 First Dates.” When he was courting the woman he adore, he has to introduce himself to her each date. When they began to have a serious relationship, he has to remind her all over again abut they being together. So, when they finally tied the knot and each time she wakes up, he reminds him to play a video of their loving family. He never got tired of doing these revelations each day. He lived through all these revealing himself again and again for he loved her.

John reveals about Jesus’ revelation of himself again.

Jesus revealed himself just recently to the disciples. He revealed himself to Mary of Magdala. He revealed himself to the walking disciples towards Emmaus. And yet, he revealed himself again. He never gets tired of showing himself to his people. He lives to show his presence to his disciples. He lives to assure his followers he is always on their side.

Jesus reveals himself to us in our highs and lows. In matters we can see or tor can’t see. In everything we understand or don’t understand. In sickness or health. In prosperity or lack. In unity or vision. In various ways we can think of or we have never imagined. He assures us of his constant presence in our lives. He gives us the gift of his love and his existence to us every step of the way. Each moment. Each day. Every trial. Every challenge. Every victory. Every failure. He makes sure we know he is with us.

Thus Jesus reveals himself again. And again. And again.

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