Tag Archives: Discipleship

He Understands

As soon as Jesus heard the news, he left in a boat to a remote area to be alone. Matthew 14:13

He has been where you are.

He takes a time out. He separates himself from the flock. He goes alone. After all, he is human. Knowing how precious John is to him, he may have felt in his heart the feeling you may have felt when someone dear to you past away or went away. Sadness. May be despair. Feeling of losing somebody you love, you value. May be the thought that you will never see that face again. May be the thought that you will never hear that voice again.

This is why this passage is so much important for you and me.

For us to know that Jesus had the same feeling. For us to know that we are not alone when we feel this way. For us to know that he has been there. For us to know that he understands our feeling of being abandoned. That he understands our agony. Our need to be alone. Our need to take some time out. A time to cry and may be celebrate the memories of your loved one. A moment to trace the moments with that somebody.

And because God understands, he knows how to comfort you. He knows how much strength and time you need to recover. He knows the path how you will recover. He knows whom he will send for you to lean on. He knows where to bring you to so you can muster yourself altogether. He knows when to give you whatever you need to stay in the valley and whatever you need when you emerge out of it.

So go ahead. If you need to take some time alone by yourself, take it. Jesus did. He understands.

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Thank You, Ninety-Nine!

What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? Luke 15:4

You were in the desert. And you stayed, not strayed.

For me to be found, the shepherd leaves you in that barren place. No fences but you remained firm. No boundaries but you kept your feet from wandering. The shepherd found me as I’m lost, and he found me because you were steadfast. You held your ground even in the desert.

I left because of that desert — a place where I don’t want to be.

  • A desert of unemployment.
  • A dry land of an exhausting disease.
  • A barren married and family life.
  • An unfruitful church or community.
  • A dead end friendship or relationship.
  • A financial struggle which gave me dryness.
  • A career without a direction.

But here you are, still in the desert, when we came back. Still in the desert but you’re still faithful. Still in the desert and you’re still constant. Still in the desert but you’re still loyal. Though it seems he left you in that desert, you still hindered his voice. You still followed his words. You lived as if he is leading you.

As I come back to the flock, I know I can make it through the desert for the shepherd is with me and you are with me. His grace and your shining example will light my path. Side by side, I will walk with your inspiration. I will follow your footsteps and I will mirror your faithfulness. I will step in your shoes and I will run the race with your consistency.

I know I have to thank the shepherd mainly for finding me. I also know I have to thank you for him to find me.

Thank you, Ninety-Nine!

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Light Up A Candle

No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light. Luke 11:33

Praise lights each candle.

That’s our daughter. Our daughter serves as an altar server this given Sunday. We arrived early for her to prepare some things for the worship service. She dresses up with her altar gown and walks out from the back door to light each candle in the altar and in the church. She goes to the ones at the altar and she goes to the candles at the back of the church. If there would be other candles, she would not miss them. She goes to smaller candles, and to bigger or taller candles. If the light from a candle is suddenly blown by, she goes back to bring light to that candle. Though the light from each candle would be covered by the ceiling’s electric lighting, the candles continue to provide that certain light which only them could give throughout the service.

Then the light struck my heart.

This is the call of Jesus when we bring out the light. To light up one another. To bring the light to each person. To your spouse. To your daughters and sons. To your friends. To your office mates. That when you go to a certain place and as soon as your presence is felt, your words and actions lights up each person’s heart. That when you enter any door, you share the light of Jesus to others. Share the light to the people who have been standing there and needing of “how are you doing?”, hugs, love, affirmation and encouragement. Share his light to the people whose lights may have been extinguished by trials, marital problems, job concerns, unemployment, broken friendships, or doubt of God. Go back to the person whose light may have been blown by personal difficulties or financial challenges. 

Some of us may be like the ceiling’s lighting. These are leaders, pastors or teachers. Most of us may be like candles. They prepare what is menial, they are always at the background serving with all their hearts. But both type light the church. Both type can provide everlasting spark in the heart. So, you may have a small service or a small candle, what is important is you use it to light others. No matter how small your role is, God has put the light in you so it must be shared and not kept.  You have a unique God-given light or personality or gift that you alone can reach out to a certain person or group.

At the end of the service, Praise goes to put out the light in each candle. Hopefully, we won’t do the same, to your’s or to others’. For the light of Jesus goes on and on and on and on…His light won’t melt you but build you.

So move forward my friend…light up another candle.

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Bring The Bread

In those days, Melchizedek, king of Salem, brought out bread and wine, and being a priest of God Most High, he blessed Abram with these words… Genesis 14:18

He brings the bread.

In the old and local Philippines, this boy wakes up early. He fetches his goods at the nearest street corner bakery. As he rides his bicycle, the bread within the front basket scatters the smell of fresh baked flour into the morning air. He settles at one home and another and another. At the doorsteps, he puts that sturdy brown bag which is ready to fill the stomachs of families after resting for the night. His work is personal. His work satisfies the hunger. His travel has a purpose. To bring the bread to the households. To fill the hungry with this bread.

Melchizedek did just that. The boy with five loaves did that. You can do it, too.

You don’t need to be a priest, mind you. This call for all of us is personal. As long as you want to satisfy the hunger of this world. Make it  your life’s purpose. To bring life to others as you share the bread of life. To fill the gaps in multiple hearts which can’t be filled by any ideology but by God alone.

May I bring some ways to bring the bread?

  • Be an encouragement in your homes.
  • Always speak God’s word may be in terms of positive outlook.
  • Follow God’s laws and the laws of the land.
  • Do your work well and pay your bills.
  • Be responsible to your promises.
  • Use Facebook or Twitter to spread his love and his words.
  • Show empathy and charity to the needy whose needs may be material or emotional tangibles.

You may be a priest. You may be a small boy with a packed lunch. You may be the clerk at the busiest table or a hotel receptionist. An accountant or an office messenger. A teacher or a student. All of us are called. All of us have the grace. All of us are capable.

Bring the bread.

 

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Catching One Another

Jesus said to them, “Children, have you caught anything to eat?” They answered him, “No.” John 21:5

Same faces, same names for the past three years.

As a prayer group working to advance the work of the Lord, we have been together for more than three years. We as brothers and sisters aim to spread his love and mercy especially to other people. We have tried to reach out the youth. We have tried our mission to the single working people. We attempted to establish a ministry within a parish. Some will respond but not for long. And at hindsight, we have the same faces, same names after all this work of three years.

As the disciples have experience, we have caught nothing. They threw their nets as we have done. They pulled their nets back to the boat and found no catch, as we have experienced. And yet they still stayed in their boat, as we have stayed in our group. And three years is longer than a night.

If no one is caught, then the Lord has other plans – for us to catch one another. He is teaching us to care, serve and love for the people he has given us to do his work and share his love. He has called us for the meantime to catch one another.

That even though the net is empty, he is giving us grace to strengthen one another by words and actions of love. That even though our toil has no fruits, it seems, we have our relationships with one another as fruits. Maybe a brother is falling, catch him. Maybe a sister feeling down, catch her. Maybe a member has stumbled, reach out to him. God is teaching us to wait upon him as we catch one another.

The picture of catching one another is for any person above you, you must have your hands ready to catch. In other words, no person below will be caught by a person above. You need to be below a person to catch that person. That’s why we need humility to catch one another. We need to be a servant before being a leader. We need to be a brother or a sister before looking at the organization structure.

If you are not catching others, be sure to catch one another.

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The Invited

After he had spoken, a Pharisee invited him to dine at his home. He entered and reclined at table to eat. Luke 11:37

Jesus got the invite.

Not from a disciple. Not from a family. Not from a friend. It was from a Pharisee.

A Pharisee, who watches his each and every move and who is quick to judge Jesus’ actions which he considers as mistakes, invited him. He is part of a group who are full of insecurity about Jesus’ being and personality. His eyes look for the bad in every good in Jesus. His heart is filled with anger each time Jesus satisfies the hunger. Jesus’ words come in and come out on the sides of his head, no message is committed and no grace is embedded. If Jesus does this, he says damn. If Jesus does that, he says damn. No action, no words or no miracles is correct in his eyes and in his heart.

Yet, Jesus responds to his invitation. He enters his door and sits on his chair. His feet tread the floor where this Pharisee stands every day. His nose breathes the air inside this house. He sits at his table. He takes food from his plate. He reclines like he is at home. Ha! This is how he responds to the invitation – Jesus is at home.

This is Jesus. This is our Lord. This is the God of heavens and of the earth.

As long as he is invited, he will come. No matter who you are. No matter what you have done or whatever you will do in the next minute or next hour, he will enter your life. As long as you say he is welcome into yours, he will not waste time, he is come. The instant you say the words, “Come to my home, come to my heart.”, he is coming at your doorstep. He is coming into your heart, broken or whole. He is coming into your life, perfect or wrecked. He does not discriminate. Disciple or Pharisee. Tax payer or tax collector. Friend or foe. Close or distant. He just comes when he is invited. He wants your home to be his home.

Issue the invitation. Now.

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Changed

And I was unknown personally to the churches of Judea that are in Christ; they only kept hearing that “the one who once was persecuting us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” So they glorified God because of me. Galatians 1:22-24

They glorified God because of me.

Read that again, “They glorified God because of me.”

When I first read these verses, it seems to me that people praised God because of the eloquence and clarity of preaching Paul was delivering each time he stood up. Isn’t this familiar among us? We get in trance when we hear a gifted speaker. When the preacher’s words thunders into our hearts we thank God. We exalt God’s name when we witness how God bestows his grace for a man or a woman to deliver his message in such a powerful way. For his preachers, gifted pastors, inspiring speakers, we have glorified God. They glorified God because of Max Lucado. They glorified God because of Joel Osteen. They glorified God because of Bo Sanchez and so on. And this is not wrong.

But this is not the reason why Paul blurted, “They glorified God because of me.”

Look at the people’s description of him, “the one who once was persecuting us is now preaching the faith he once destroyed.” There’s still an element of Paul’s preaching. Yet the core significance of this group of words is that there was a change in Paul’s life. Something in him changed…the one who was persecuting us is now preaching the faith he once destroyed…They glorified God not because of his preaching, but because Paul was changed.  There was an archetype directional shift in him. 180 degrees.

So in turn, Paul was writing to the Galatians to focus on the important part of preaching – being changed for God. No gift of preaching, no authority of speaking or any other skill for ministry will ever overshadow the power of a life changed by God.

A changed life gives us a reason to glorify God.

Your changed life gives people a reason to glorify God.

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