Tag Archives: Exhortation

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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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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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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Tools

Will the axe boast against him who hews with it? Will the saw exalt itself above him who wields it? As if a rod could sway him who lifts it, or a staff him who is not wood! Isaiah 10:15

The main difference with tools and servants is this — one can say no, one can’t. The tools sitting at the garage just wait to be picked up for work and use. The servants in the pew has the power to say to the Master, “I’m a sinner, I’m not good.” “Not now.” or “Not me.” The toolbox occupants are always prepared and ready for the action. Servants have always the option, to go or not. There is a choice to be made by the servant if he or she will allow the Creator to create through him or her. If the servant say’s no, the Master may select another servant to do the work.

The main similarity with tools and servants is this — both can’t claim the glory of the work done. Two of my old uncles were carpenters, but they were not the same creators. With this, they may pick up and utilize the same tools but they may not have the same creation. One does an excellent job, one doesn’t.  Thus, the tools can’t grab the limelight of the work. Yes, they are part of the accomplishment, yet, without the expert guiding hands of the Master, the tools will still be siting in that cold box. Their purpose not fulfilled. Their edges not used. Their skills not displayed.

The lesson you may learn from this is this — be a servant who will trample trunks of challenges and at the same time who will not boast against him who hews you. Be a servant who cuts hearts and minds and who doesn’t exalt himself or herself above the hands who wields it. Be a ready and a willing servant for God’s glory.

 

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Greatness

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”  Luke 1:38

Greatness does not view consequences – Doug Collins.

Greatness when you don’t view consequences is like saying yes to God’s plan. Even when you are not told what your nod entails.

Mary – she said yes to carry God’s Son in her womb for nine months and be his mother as long as he is here on earth. She was not oriented on the where she would deliver him– manger. She is not informed as early as possible that her son would die a tragic death– on the cross. She had to linger on day and night where her son would be as Jesus hopped from one town to another to preach and reach the broken. She had to wonder if he has taken his lunch or what food he had for dinner. And yet, she said yes and did not view consequences.

Joseph – he said yes to the angel’s instructions from his dream to take care of God’s Son and his mother. He may have wanted the best delivery room for his wife and first born but he had to settle to be with animals and for a while, exchange his carpentry to nursery. He didn’t anticipate that his business would change address from time to time to fulfill what was written long before. His work is to be belittled as Jesus was judged, “He is the son of a carpenter.” And yet, he said yes and did not view consequences.

You can take this first step to greatness.

Say yes to God’s plan.  And don’t view the consequences.

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