Tag Archives: Peter

Forgiving

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:21-22

His death turned our world upside down.

He is my brother. I was a new college kid trying to come home to get ready and collect my grades for my first semester when something unusual was at our house. There were many people. My father is not there. My mother and my sisters seem to be confused and distraught. That’s where I suspected something not good happened. I was told my brother died.

He was shot in the head. He was a new civil engineer who was a topnotcher in the nationwide board examinations. He was a new employee in this construction firm who was working in a horizontal project in a flung neighborhood where these goons might have mocked him for doing what is right and killed him on the spot. Afterwards our world was never the same.

Our father stopped actively running the family business. The dead son was his best son. Our mother cried an ocean if not a lake. The dead son was her best son, too. Our aunt, who lived with us, was devastated. The dead nephew is her favorite among tens of nieces and nephews. And us, his brothers and sisters, were hurt and pain resided as if another sibling can go anytime.

His killers were not imprisoned for their crime, as far as we know. Actually, only our father met them. We never knew their names. We never saw their faces. We were hopeless in depending with the justice system and allowed the crime to get into the bottom of the police files. As our brother’s passing changed our lives, these ruthless people changed our hearts.

Each time, my heart claws down into its deep and brings out these moments, there is a feeling of unforgiveness. A question pops out, “Why would I forgive when there was no justice?”. An answer replies, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.” Matthew 18:22. When Peter asked Jesus on this, he was not referring to any justice. He did not include if the sinner asks for mercy. Peter only implied forgiveness on the part of the offended.

Thus, every time I remember this crime against our family, I forgive. Every death anniversary of our brother, I forgive. Every time I look back on how our family suffered through this, I forgive. When I see our family picture with my dead brother in it, I forgive. Every time, I hear the same injustice is being done, I forgive. Every time I visit that day, I forgive. When the hurt comes back, I forgive.

Forgiving is for giving yourself a chance to change your heart. Forgiving is for giving others a chance to change.

Forgiveness is not a one time deal. Forgiveness is a lifetime virtue. It is an on-going part of the healing and growing process. It is seventy-seven times.

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One Message

And consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, as our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, also wrote to you. 2 Peter 3:15

He wrote letters. Paul wrote letters. He preached the Word. Paul preached the Word. Both bringing one message.

Seldom we see leaders in the church or preachers of the Word concurring with one another. Most of the time, they try to contradict one another. Sometimes, they try to challenge one another. Other times, they fiercely debate with one another. I’m not saying Peter and Paul did not argue or debated on some issues of the early church, but when it comes to the very staple message of salvation they have one voice. To have one voice, one message, several must be done.

The humility Peter possessed. He is considered as the main leader of the church and yet here, he points to the words Paul has written. Peter thought he can’t do this on his own and needed help. Thus he referred to Paul’s letter for support. Humility. This is needed among leaders of the present church. That leaders maybe humble in lifting up one another and refer the good work each other is doing.

The brotherhood Peter and Paul had. Peter called him, beloved brother Paul. More than an esteemed co-worker, he referred to him as beloved. More than a fellow apostle, he called him brother. Brotherhood. May this gift be evident among the leaders of the church. That leaders may complement one another not to compete with one another.

The recognition of God by Peter by recognizing Paul’s given wisdom. He acknowledges there is wisdom in what Paul wrote. He knew gifts are distributed in the church and each has an important role to play. Peter pertains to Paul’s work as God’s work. Can church leaders do just that? Identify God by establishing a brother’s gift of ministry. Adhere to God’s plan in giving another person of his gifts and skills for the expansion of God’s kingdom.

And so we thought it’s impossible to have unity in the church. It can be done.

By having one message — Jesus as our salvation.

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Of Abundant Grace and Peace

May grace and peace be yours in abundance through knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.  2 Peter 1:2

Why do you know you have grace when you need it?

Is it because you possess the skills to accomplish a service? Is it because you are doing a ministry which you are considered an expert? Is it because you have the ample resources for the mission at hand? Is it because you have been there, done that? Is it because the mountain is not too much to climb?

Why do you know you have peace in your very heart?

Is it because you know you still have work tomorrow? Is it because you are healthy and you are still kicking and running? Is it because everything nowadays went well and going well? Is it because your bank account is fat as it seems? Is it because the economy is recovering as it should be?

End of questions.

Peter points to one thing why you have grace and peace — knowledge of God and of Jesus.

When you know him, you know you can and you will do it by his grace. Though your skills maybe short or resources are scarce, you know you have grace because you know your God supplies your strength and wisdom to do so. Though the opposition of the service is great, his grace will be  immensely available for you, for you know your God will enable you. Though the days may follow the same route and may give you complacency, you know his grace will come to you by knowing him.

When you know him, you know you can close your eyes at night and sleep in peace like a babe and wake up revived like a young colt. In the midst of economic crisis, unemployment, family chaos or health issues, you have peace for he gives it to you by knowing him who calms the storm. Knowing your God, allows you to be still (Psalm 46:10). He brings you a table of feast in front of your enemies, that’s why you know you will have peace by knowing him.

Other translation provides knowledge of God as experience with God. The more we experience him, the more we acknowledge his grace and his offering of peace. The more you spend your life with him, the more you tap into his grace and allow his presence to give you peace.

May you have the passion to know him. May your days be filled with experiencing our Almighty God. May you have grace and peace in abundance.

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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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Witnesses

You are witnesses of these things. Luke 24:48

The witness died.

I read this from a newspaper’s headline. He saw what happened in a murder. He saw who was murdered and who did the murder. When he volunteered to testify plus a couple of days, he was murdered, too. The witness is now dead.

The disciples took this route. Jesus declared they were witnesses. They saw what happened. They saw multitudes healed. They saw thousands satisfied and fed. The saw him walk on earth and on water. They live with him. They ate with him. They saw him dead. They saw him risen. They did not only witness one event, they saw a lot. Jesus emphasized, “…these things.” They lived to be witnesses and suffered to death rather than deny the things they saw, rather than denounced their faith.

Nowadays, some of his witnesses might take the same road. They can be killed because they live as his witnesses. These modern day disciples may take the step to the grave for their stand in their faith. But not all.

Yet all of  his witnesses, like you, are called to die to oneself. Die so others may live. Die from pride. Die from selfishness. Die from compromising. Die from nonchalance. Die from fear of ridicule in declaring his kingship. Die from keeping the light within the confines of comfort. Die from declaring monopoly of God and his grace.

Like the disciples, you have seen a lot. Miracles. Blessings. Healing. Providence. Opened closed doors. Changed lives. His grace available daily. Dare to trek the direction to be his witnesses. Step forward, march on to proclaim what he has done, he is doing and he will do.

Jesus was crucified, died and was buried. He is risen and is alive. You are witnesses of these things. Take the stand.

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As If Nothing Happened

Then each went to his own house. John 7:53

He was a man in a black leather jacket and he was handing leaflets to people.

Unlike the woman in her sweatshirt who was also giving simple white papers for promoting a nearby commercial establishment, his brochures were glossy and were folded nicely. I know this for he handed me one. As I stretched out my hand to meet his, he greeted me, “Sir, have a nice day.” My eyes quickly gazed on his paraphernalia and the bold all capital letters jumped out, “10 REASONS JESUS CAME TO DIE”.

As my daughters and I walked away, I was really jumping glad in the ministry the  guy was doing. A few more steps further, I saw him vigilantly approaching people who are walking their way in this market place and giving out his message by hand and by heart.

At home, I was wondering. Thinking if each of those who received the man’s leaflets went to their own house just like this crowd in Galilee. They discussed if he is a prophet. Some of them said he is the Messiah, some of them doubted this thought. But all of them went home. As if nothing happened after meeting and hearing the Christ. Nobody left his boat like Peter. Nobody left his table like Matthew. Nobody ate with Jesus at his home just like Zacchaeus. Nobody spread the news about Jesus just like the Samaritan woman at the well.

They all just went home.

Any event, new or old, where we meet Jesus must impact us. Any routine ministry, small or big, have his presence. An ordinary Sunday service has his power. Listen. Reflect. Open your heart. Open your mind. Don’t just go to your own way. Don’t just go to your own house. As if Jesus was not present. As if nothing happened.

 

 

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Keys

I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 16:1a

It’s not named Alicia.

Keys should fit into the lock to open a door or anything that is close. It should crack the curve in order to bring you inside. Compared to the material to be opened, nowadays, keys are small. It can be duplicated yet it must be an identical twin of the original.

All of us have keys to the kingdom. Gifts or skills for people to see God’s glory. Some are seen upfront, some are always at the background. Some keys are using words with eloquence. Some openers are serving with administrative management. Others do it with blue collar service. Small or big keys have the same one purpose, to open his kingdom for others. People with front office keys have the same equal responsibility with people who have keys for the back door. In one way or another, any key will give you an entry inside his kingdom.

In this earthly life, some keys don’t fit now  but will fit later. They are what you may call difficulkeys. God designs keys of this type for our lives. These maybe trials, family problems, job concerns, relationship issues or eroding of health. You don’t see now how do they open God’s door yet surely later you will. You just have to keep on trying using these kind of keys in order to see God’s face and his plan amidst your messy life.

So, whatever keys you are holding now, use it. Cherish it. Praise God for it. Serve with all your heart. Your family can come to God’s house through your keys. Your friends may see what is like in the Lord’s abode by the keys you have.Your co-workers might use one of your keys some day. Duplicate keys in your hand by training and trusting people.

Peter utilized his keys to open God’s kingdom faithfully. May God, the key giver, bless us to do the same.

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