Category Archives: Interests

Follow the Planner

When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. Matthew 1:24

He follows the plan.

The man is a carpenter.  Joseph studies the blueprint before cutting the wood. He looks at the template before he pounds the hammer. He carefully looks at the measurements, he balances the beam, he assures every nail is in its rightful place.

Not this time(s).

“When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph…” Matthew 1:18b. This was their plan — wedding. They set the day. They identify the location. They list the guests. He picks the suit, she picks the dress. But the wedding gets cancelled.

“…but before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly.”  Matthew 1:18b-19.  This was Joseph’s plan. His future wife is already a future mother. Break the engagement not as same as glass hitting the floor or as the sun breaks the dawn but like a father kissing her sleeping child good night.

“When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home.” Matthew 1:24. Change of plan(s), again. First, the wedding. Second, the breaking of unity of their hearts. The third plan skips all their or his plans. No wedding, no Mary dumping, but the carpenter starts on building a home.

The carpenter’s protocol is to follow the plan. As the plans changed, he changes his code —  Joseph doesn’t follow the plan, he followed the Planner.

You may have been in his position.

  • An unexpected unemployment.
  • A disease coming unannounced.
  • Family issue suddenly getting in the middle.
  • Your business not as usual.
  • Surprising election results.

His universe, our universe works according to His plan so your career. The alignment of the planets are in order so your family concerns will be. Your situations change, your church or government leaders change, He is still King and sits on the throne. No matter what the plan is, the Planner looks out for you. “We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28.

His love, constant. His faithfulness, consistent. His presence always present. Remember plans change. The Planner doesn’t.

Follow the Planner.

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The Less Is Not The Least

…and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. Luke 21:2

Luke paints a picture of less.

Poor. Widow. Two. Small. Coins.

If that is not a case of lack of something, I don’t know what it is.

Poor is having not much. It is a state of need of enough or of more. Pockets are full of air. Bank account can’t be counted.

Widow is having no company. No hands to hold but yours. No walks with somebody. No dinner with somebody. Sleeping all alone in a cold night.

Two small coins sound like not much in her purse. Even if these metals clash, no sound will be heard from a good distance. If you drop them in a collection box, even the dropper’s ear might miss the fall.

Yet this less is not the least, for Jesus notices it.

How many times you retreated in giving because you have less? How many times you were prevented from helping because you have not much?

Does this sound familiar, “If only I have more money, more time, more resources, more skills then I can give.” Luke’s painting tells us this is a myth.

Even in times of lack, you can give back. For even in times of less, you can bless. Even in times of not much, you can do much. Even if you feel you’re small, you can give your all.

For Jesus, for Luke, for the widow and for you… the less is not the least.

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Distance

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Matthew 5:1

There it is again — the separation.

That distance between the crowds and the disciples in coming near to Jesus.

In here, Jesus goes up the mountain. The crowd stays on the plain. The disciples follow his trail.

Are you part of the crowd?

  • You saw the climb is stiff, so don’t bother to hurdle it.
  • You were healed or fed earlier; you decide stay and rest your body.
  • You heard enough insights, so keeping that distance is all right.
  • You counted the time Jesus took from his walk up to his sit down and said that’s too long.
  • You wanted to go up but saw only twelve men are following him closely so why take the courage, why take the risk.

Are you a disciple?

  • You saw how stiff the mountain is but you also see your Master, sitting pretty, at the top of the mountain. Thus, you climb the mountain.
  • Your following requires no rest: body, mind and soul. Where he is is where your heart is. His place is your place — he is your resting place.
  • You thirst for more than his words, you long to be in his presence.
  • You count your blessings, you don’t count the cost in loving and serving him.
  • You follow with your all and on your own, your loyalty to him is not dictated by the decision of others.

How much distance you keep from Jesus defines if you’re one of the crowd or if you’re a disciple.

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He Still Stops

Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Mark 10:49

He has stopped a lot of things.

He stopped being comfortable in heaven by being born out of woman’s womb in a manger. Jesus stopped fishermen to start to become fishers of men. He stopped water in being water to become wine. Jesus stopped waves from turning their boat. He has stopped grumbling stomachs when he multiplied the bread. He stopped death by raising the dead. He stopped countless evil spirits from residing in human souls. He stopped sin by dying and stopped death by rising.

And he stopped for desperate cries of mercy.

He was leaving Jericho with his disciples with the crowds when blind Bartimaeus cried out for pity. Many tried to silence him but the blind man used his able sense and kept on screaming. That is when and where Jesus stopped.

God has a business running the universe, galaxies and lots of matters you can think of. But he stops when you cry out to him. He delays his itineraries when he hears sincerity in your prayer screams. When you are at your roadside begging and at worst, helpless; God stops. He wants to answer your pleas. He wants to know what he can and will do for you. Your cries to him do not fall on deaf ears.

You, my friend, may need God’s roadside big-time assistance today. He is waiting to hear from you. Shout out and cry out to him. Don’t stop even if people will stop you, still cry out to Jesus. He still stops.

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That Fig Tree Moment

Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree. You will see greater things than that.” John 1:50

Here is mine – our mother bringing us to church every Sunday, where I look forward not to church but to the street foods she would buy for us after church. This is my fig tree moment. I don’t remember any of the bible readings. I don’t recall any of the priest’s homilies. I believed because a woman of faith planted a seed of belief by encouraging his children to go with her to church. It was a small thing but it was a fig tree moment.

Same as Nathanael’s.

He believed in Jesus because Jesus told him he saw Nathanael under the fig tree. It was a small thing but that started his belief in him. This guy have not seen the waves silenced yet and yet he believed. He hasn’t watched five thousands being fed from a boy’s lunch yet, yet he had faith in him.

Jesus promised him that he’ll see greater things than that and he did! Healing of the sick. Waving to the waves to be calmed. Multiplication of the bread. Feeding the hungry. Fishing bulk of fishes. Casting out demons. Dying on the cross and rising from the dead. Ascension to heaven.

Be reminded of your fig tree moment. Remember your fig tree moment. Recall that small seed which grew into a tower of faith. Look back where it all started for this is where Jesus promises that we will see greater things.

Greater things like – graduating college even coming from a large family with financial struggles, passing the board exam which you did not expect, able to teach and preach the Gospel even without formal training, offered employment after being laid off in three days, able to reach people you don’t know and you’ve not met through this blog. We can go on and on and we are not near the finish line yet.

Believing in Jesus, in small ways or big time – this is the lesson of that moment…that fig tree moment.

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Bread

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst. John 6:35

It’s amazing how they make cakes.

I was watching this television program with my daughters about a reality series on bakers who specialize in making wedding cakes.  They get their cues from the soon to be wed couples regarding their dream wedding cake.  These cake designers would do anything for that dream to become a reality.  Tell them your theme and they would cut out a fit-in cake for that. They would keep your eyes open when you see the creation. They would put color to suit your wedding gown. They would put anything you can come up with the request of the couple. A cake about your love story. A cake about your first meeting. A cake about your engagement moments. A cake about your dream home. A cake about your love song. A cake about your favorite movie. They have what it takes to create your cake for you.

One thing I realized is this. No matter what the design of the cake is.  No matter what the theme of the cake is. No matter what the shape of the cake is. No matter how large or small the cake is. One thing holds the cake together which is always overlooked– the bread.

It’s amazing how we make Christian life like cakes.

We put our own colors. We put our own designs. We put our own shapes. We go to the prayer meeting and expect the worship leader to be lively and energetic. We would like our leader to be a eloquent speaker and preacher. We imagine that each member would perfectly fit in to their commitments. We stop attending his mass when our parish priest becomes politicize. We withdraw our participation when the ministry leader commits a mistake. A life of your own theme. A life about your own design. A life of your own movie theme.

Realize this. No matter who the leader is. No matter what the leader’s style is. No matter how inspiring or boring your pastor’s sermon  is. No matter how stouthearted or complacent the members are. No matter how the prayer meeting goes. No matter how lifeless is the ministry is. Someone holds your church together. Someone sustains your ministry together. Somebody carries your your bible sharing group together.

Someone holds your life together, and please do not overlook him– Jesus, the bread of life. He alone matters and he is no icing on the cake.

Reposted: Originally posted in April 23, 2010.

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Alive in the Living Room

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:11

It’s dead but it’s in the living room.

It was staring at me yet it’s dead – an elk head. With eyes wide open and horns outstretched, the animal’s neck occupies the living room where I’m talking about Romans 6:11, “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

History tells us this elk was alive, then it was dead, then it looks like it’s alive but it is really dead. Thanks to the work of a seasoned taxidermist. So when it was alive, it went to being dead and stayed dead though it looks like alive.

Paul points to this taxidermy lesson –> dead to sin, alive in Christ.

You were dead and into sin, but when Jesus gave his life and died on the cross for you, you receive life and became dead to sin. Like the elk, you become dead…to sin. Unlike this elk, you don’t stay in death and you don’t look like alive, you are really alive…in Christ.

So each time you stare at that mirror, know that you are dead – to sin. Remember that you are alive – in Christ.

You are alive in the living room.

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