Tag Archives: Pilipinas

Strong Arm

Be our strong arm each day and our salvation in times of trouble. Isaiah 32:2b

Each of one of us has this.

You depend on it. When you are tightening a glass jar cap or when you are opening a tight one, you use it. You lean on it. When all of a sudden you fall on the street, you put it first. When you push or pull something or when you go against something, a wall or a box, this arm gives you the foundation. It does your hardest work. When you twist a plumbing or when you get into a hole inside your car’s machine, this arm does the job. It reaches out for you. When you rebound a ball or when you jump to hand off a hanging fruit, this arm extends. It may be your left. It may be your right. It can’t be both but all of us have one – a strong arm.

Isaiah prayed that God be our strong arm, “Be our strong arm each day and our salvation in times of trouble. Isaiah 32:2b“. And God is.

He can tighten whatever is loose in your life. He can loosen whatever is in bondage to be in your personal or family life. He is the one you can lean on to. When you fall, he catches you. As you walk the narrow road and may be about to trip, he puts you on his back. He is your strong foundation, when you aim to pull your dreams or when you push away your distractions, you can ask his grace and strength to be there for you. When at your weakest, he comes up to take on what’s tough and what’s rough. He can and he will open things for you, your ideas, your wildest dreams, anything you thought it won’t be possible. He can close matters if these will hurt you or hurt your relationship with him. He extends his love and mercy to you. He reaches out for you when you are about to divert in your walk with him. He reaches out and extends himself whatever you can’t attain. All for you. You can depend on him. You can lean on him. He is the only one. He is the only one you’ve got.

You have him. He is God. He is your strong arm.

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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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As You Are

And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy. Luke 15:5

He sets him on his shoulders with great joy.

No judgmental words were spoken. No scanner to run through the lost soul. He does not inspect the once was lost and now is found. Does it have what it takes to belong to the flock again? Does it have the same wool after it has gone in it’s own way? How much he has changed in his unfruitful journey?

No interrogation was conducted. Why did you leave? Where have you gone? Don’t you know the way back home? Why did you not call or scream? No light bulbs hanging from the ceiling. Only light coming from the Shepherd’s heart radiating on the found.

There was no quarantine needed. No need to wait for waiting hours. No need to fill up clearance papers before going in. The lost sheep gains full access again, not only to the flock but to the Shepherd. The wanderer wonders, “After all, I’ve done and have gone. My Shepherd opens his arms, opens his heart.”

He just puts him near him. He just lifts him up, together with his spirit. He carries him like never before so the sheep knows he is welcome. His search all shadowed with joy, great joy.

Such is our Shepherd, Lord Jesus Christ.

Whatever you are when he found you. Whoever you are where he set his eyes on you. He is just joyful he found you.

He will carry you back. He will take you, as you are.

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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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Silent/Listen

There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” Luke 10:42

She just listened. She was silent.

The whole time Luke writes the event of Jesus with Martha and Mary, we only hear two voices not three– Jesus’ and Martha’s. We don’t read any single word coming from Mary. The Lord and the busy servant did all the talking. Mary did all the listening.

She sat down besides Jesus’ feet. Maybe, she hears him telling stories of love and miracles, that made her stay put. Maybe, she hears him speaking about his upcoming suffering, which made her glued to her spot. Maybe, she listens to him talking about how important to listen to him, she does just that.

Can you sit at Jesus’ feet? Can you listen and allow him talk?

In the midst of today’s lifestyle, trivial matters compete with this. Facebook. Twitter. Music in your gadgets. Checking emails. Television programs you can’t let go.

In the midst of today’s society, where the person who has the last word somewhat wins. Arguments at the boardroom. Gauging who is more knowledgeable around the cubicles. Debates inside the classroom. Voices rising at the family room.

Mary listened. Not only to Jesus but did not battle her sister’s stimulating remarks. She allowed Jesus to answer for her. She shut her mouth so she can fill her heart with the grace coming from listening to him.

May you listen to him. May you be silent and allow Jesus to answer for you. Close your mouth and open you heart more often.

No wonder silent is a word when jumbled in the right way can turn into listen.

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