Tag Archives: Believing

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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He Knows

“But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him.” Mark 9:32

“I don’t know…”

This was my reply to my sister on her question why this difficulty we have in the family is happening right now. May be she was asking why now that we all are in advanced age levels that supposedly we should be making responsible and acceptable decisions. Or maybe she is wondering why now that we don’t have parental support or even why now that some of us may not be physically present to provide our moral support. “I don’t know…” seems to be an appropriate response for matters we don’t understand.

The disciples were not different from us, “But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him.” Mark 9:32. This was the time after when Jesus declared that he would die but will rise again.

Though the twelve did not understand the plan of salvation and resurrection, these beleaguered twelve still stayed with Jesus. They still followed him. They continued to walk with him, eat with him, did a lot of things with him. They would not understand his teachings or his proclamations yet they made sure to stand for him, by him and with him.

May be there’s something you don’t understand right now…

· Sickness has been a burden for you to carry and still no healing or answer to your query.

· Resumes have been submitted but job doesn’t resume.

· Money is becoming a major issue in the family and minor financial rain fall is forecasted.

· A brother is wavering in his faith, not only lack of faith but opposing the faith he grew up with.

We don’t know. We don’t understand. The disciples stayed with him though they did not understand. Hopefully, even when there are times we don’t understand, may our hearts’ desire is that we still stand for him, by him and with him.

For even when we don’t understand, his promises stand. For even if we don’t know, he knows.

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Focus

Soon afterward he journeyed to a city called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd accompanied him. As he drew near to the gate of the city, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. A large crowd from the city was with her. Luke 7:11-12

The camera was on him — Jesus.

Then, it was on her — the widow, whose only son is dead.

Both angles of the camera has multitudes.

Jesus was with his disciples and a large crowd was following him. The widow as well was with a large crowd from the city.

Both were traveling with large crowds. Yet, the camera zooms on our two protagonists. Thanks to Director Luke.

Luke makes you realize that Jesus should be zoomed out in your life. Your eyes and hearts should be focus on him. There maybe a large pile of life you may have. You have family to love and care for. You have chains of relationships. You have concerns in the office. You have service in the church. The large crowd is part of your life and the crowd only accompanies him. Jesus should take the center stage.

You focus on Jesus.

Luke also makes you realize how God’s eyes are on you as you travel in this life’s journey. You may be with a funeral of death or a parade of life, God’s cameras are zoomed into you. No matter how thick is the population he has created, his eyes rolls and looks for you. His heart goes after you especially in your lowest of lowest. When death comes to take life. When healing is postponed. When employment is not offered. When family is not one. He walks towards you. He walks to meet you, in your hurt, in your loneliness. His pupils have your face.

Jesus is focus on you.

Originally posted in September 17, 2011.

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The Opening

And (immediately) the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly. Mark 7:35

He wanted his ears opened. His friends wanted his ears opened.

But they couldn’t do it.

What they couldn’t do, Jesus did.

We wonder why his friends have to bring in the guy. The guy can walk. He can wave his hands to Jesus to get his attention. Instead, his friends brought him to him. Maybe frustration has caught him. Not hearing people and being able to communicate is a hard thing to do, a hard life to live. His father wants to tell him he is there for him, yet he does not hear it. His mother tells him how much she loves him, all falling on closed ears. Try one day without talking and avoiding sound waves pass your ears.

Frustration. And he is not alone.

You have traveled that dead end. You got nowhere to go. It’s closed.

A health issue is lingering in your body for several years now. Doctors have the answers but your body does not respond.

Or unemployment is blocking all your plans for your family and children’s future. You have the resume’ but employment does not resume soon.

You got a ministry which hit a great road block. You look at your resources, you look at what you can do, and deep inside you know Jesus what will do.

Don’t fret in your corner. Come to the Opener. If you can’t, allow your friends to bring you to him. Open whatever is closed to him. Let Jesus touch you.

Experience Jesus. Experience the opening.

–> This is re-posted, originally posted in February 15 2012.

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Boxing God

Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself. John 6:15

The crowd boxes God with their limited insights.

The crowd wanted to do things on their own route. This crowd has its own plan but this is not God’s plan– force Jesus to be king, a political king. Not king of heaven and earth but a king by their own dictionary. Who does not want to be a king? But Jesus is more than an earthly king, he is Lord and Savior. He is further than a ruler, he came to serve.

You may define him by your bounded understanding. You might expect present proceedings to be the same as past experience but God does not live by fences and property lines. Yes, he is the same God, but don’t limit him because you saw him work in this way.

We boxed God. When we  immigrated, we fixed our eyes that God will work the way he worked in our mission work. We set out to build a prayer group/community the way God has established our group in the past. Obviously, this is our experience so this is our expectation. But God can’t be boxed. He showed us that he can build on a different route. He presented his power in another direction. He utilized us in ways we are not accustomed. He put us in places we’ve never been before, never familiar to us. God showed himself in an un-experienced and unexpected manner.

You can expect that he is the same God. Loving. Faithful. Full of mercy. Forgiving father.

However, don’t expect the same route when following or serving him. He knows various roads going to his kingdom. Don’t limit him. Don’t box him. Don’t force him to your own familiar way.

After all, God’s gifts are not boxed. So is he.

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A God 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

His relatives are right on point…

He is the King of kings and Lord of lords yet the Son rises out of a manger.  Luke 2:16

He calls his first disciples who may be last on everybody’s list. Luke 5:1-11

A sinless God–Man who searches for sinners rather than saints. Spends time with them and even dines with them. Luke 5:32

He looked up to a small–in–size–big–time–sinner,  whom others looked down. Luke 19:5

He love the world that he gave his only Son, though no guarantee the world will love him back. John 3:16

People questioned his authority but he never questioned the authority of the ones who questioned his authority. Luke 20:2

Prays for the forgiveness of his persecutors and killers while hanging on the cross. Luke 23:24

Rises and shows himself to his disciples who didn’t stay with him during his most difficult times. John 20:19-20

Peter disowned him, yet he brought Peter back to his fold under no conditions. John 21:15-19

He’s not cogent. So maybe that’s why logical thinkers don’t get him.

He is a God is out of his mind.

 

 

 

 

 

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This Sign

Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14

A thousand impressions a day.

This is the promise of a billboard sign space along Central Avenue.

Quite impressive number of impressions, huh!

I guess this is rationale. Why not? Cars, school buses and public transport take this route going to and from offices, stores and schools. The location of this sign is even in the middle of two major areas in the Capital district of New York. It is also a way going to shopping malls from the residential portions. So, for an hour you have at least 84 pair of eyes looking at this sign. And for those 42 people, you hope that they will remember what your sign advertised and probably buy your product or services. At least you can hope, because the sign promises impressions not sales.

Two thousand years ago, God posted a sign. Isaiah even talked about this in Isaiah 7:14 — “Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.”

Picture this sign or billboard. Virgin. Son. Immanuel.

Any eye will be glued on this sign. Any heart will be amazed with this sign. Any mind will have this sign planted. For the Lord erects this sign, “A virgin will give birth”. Yeah, he will and can make impossible possible. For the Lord raises this sign, “God with us”. Yeah, he will be with you no matter how small is the virgin’s stomach to fit in the Son of God.

Impressive, yes. But don’t let it be just an impression. Or an after thought with all the busyness around “holiday season”. Buying gifts. Having parties. Cooking food for a feast.

Reflect on how God came near to you. Talk about on how he can make things happen such as this sign. Meditate on how God will go through great lengths to show how much he loves and cares for you.

He still holds this sign for you to see. He still keeps this sign for you to come back to him. He still elevates this sign for you to remain firm and faithful.

This sign promises salvation. Not only to thousands but to countless souls.

Don’t just drive by this sign.

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