Not One Left Upon Another

 

The designated driver suggested we leave for Marilao, Bulacan yesterday for Sunday service at 7:15 am to avoid the anticipated gridlock at the northbound route of the NLEX.

The reason?

The centennial celebration of a religious group at their newly inaugurated 50,000-seater Philippine Arena, part of a massive complex that already garnered Guinness World Record recognition.  (The group teaches the humanity of Christ BUT DOES NOT ACKNOWLEDGE His divinity.)

In Mark 13:1-2 we read that “As He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.”

The real Church is commissioned to and is totally committed to BUILDING PEOPLE UP (spiritually), not putting up impressive structures. So i’m not really impressed, Guiness record or not, rather I am saddened. Because most people have come to believe that a church’s success can be measured by how much money and property they have.

Christ’s words are a warning to the religious who’d rather go after the trappings of wealth and power. John MacArthur says it a lot better than I can: “Any system of religion that misrepresents God and abuses widows is coming down.”

On the other hand, they encourage the truly faithful who depend on Him and His power, and continue in the Word.

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The BLAME GAME

I’ve been quiet for some months, sorting through some stuff.  Not that I have nothing to say, it’s just how to say it.  With that, I’ll just leave today’s post to my Bible School teacher, Ptr. RICK BOTO, the guy who taught me how to properly read and exposit the Bible.  His thoughts about our pointing fingers in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in the light of God’s Word.

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BLAME OR BLESS?

A vicious habit we many Filipinos are hooked to whenever calamity strikes us is looking for people to blame. Of course, our list of usual suspects we point our fingers to will not fail to include PNoy, PAGASA, & the victims/survivors themselves who stubbornly refuse to evacuate their homes. Now we have added to the roster a new kid on the block, the “microwave pulse.”

We are seemingly no different from the disciples of Jesus themselves. In John 9, upon seeing a blind man, they asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” (v. 2)

Sounds familiar? “Who’s fault it is? Who caused this mess? What went wrong?”

What was obviously wrong was the question itself as indicated by Jesus’ reply: “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents, but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (v. 3)

Instead of asking, “Who sinned?,” the disciples could have asked Jesus, “Lord, can you restore the blind man’s sight?” And Jesus will tell them, “Sure, I thought you’d never ask. Now, I will let you see the works of God displayed in him.”

We can learn better and be wiser from this story. Instead of the question, “What went wrong?,” we rather ask, “What can we do to make it right?”

The blind man not only received his sight. He came to see Jesus face to face and declared his faith in Him (vv. 37-38). The works of God are displayed in him!

Let us stop asking the wrong question. Instead, let us accomplish the right action to display the works of God: Provide help to the needy and proclaim Jesus to them.

– Rick Boto

 

UNSTOPPABLE

Commenting on Nick Vujicic’s UNSTOPPABLE tour, my friend Jesse Dedel writes in his FB page, ” I guess what I loved most about Nick’s message was how real it all was, how grounded in hard, gritty, in-your-face facts of life. Not everyone gets healed. No one ever gets all their problems solved, there will be bad days, times will get hard. And through it all, the One Sure Thing that will carry all of us through is our Unstoppable God, Who, even if we die, can raise us back to life and / or, more importantly, give us Life Eternal. It wasn’t a “feel good” message so much as it was a “God is Good” message… regardless of what circumstance one may be facing at the moment. Rock Solid!

I couldn’t have said it any better.

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So what’s stopping you from living God’s design for your life?

Only Calendars Change

Calendars change, but old ways seldom do. The morning after welcoming 2013 with a bang, the streets are littered with the usual New Year’s trash. Same old story. The party hits the streets but no one cares enough to clean up after.

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We have complicated our New Year’s celebrations to ensure that we welcome prosperity and success. But after the party winds down, we’re back to our old ways for the next 364.5 days.

We won’t change for the better if we:

  • allow superstition to imprison us, believing that certain colors, shapes, sounds, and practices are to usher in luck and prosperity
  • disregard the other’s welfare in exercising our freedom to do whatever we want
  • do not follow the rule of law and sweep violations under the rug

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We need a change of heart. A change for the good. Let’s clean up our act. If we really consider the Philippines as the only Christian nation in Asia, then let’s be that – a nation truly under God, Whose Word alone can change the course of one’s life towards all that is Godly and good.

 

 

The Year-End Exercise In Stupidity

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A few hours before 2013, most will be celebrating the New Year with fireworks and firecrackers. In the Philippines, legal and illegal firecrackers cause injury, property damage, and worse, pollution – both air and noise.

I couldn’t understand why, after the existense of the Clean Air Act, do we still allow the firecracker industry and it’s clients to continue polluting the very fragile environment we have. Aren’t there enough smoke-belching buses along EDSA that we need still need to pollute the air yearly? I don’t want to inhale poisonous fumes while celebrating. That’s not my idea of fun.

And it’s really stupid to think that we can ward off evil spirits and usher in luck by creating so much noise. If the religious leaders would just get their act together, they’d teach their followers that life isn’t ruled by luck and other superstitions. If parents were really responsible, they’d discourage their kids from this dangerous and irritable practice. If the government just did it’s job… oh, well.

So off I go to the hotel where I can have peace and quiet and clean air. It’ll give me time to reflect on the past year and plan for the new one. Oh, and i’ll watch the news for firecracker accidents that show mutilated body parts and kids crying and drunk adults being amputated. These people ritually leave their brains on standby mode during this time of year – reason enough for being in the news as part of another statistic.

Happy New Year.

One More Way To Steal

Though no stranger to the Greenhills Shopping Center, we go there for the first time for some last-minute Christmas shopping. Inside, we sort of systematically go through the aisles looking for what need. There’s a wide assortment of items i’d have loved to go through but we didn’t have enough time for that.

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The branded items there (clothing, shoes, & accessories) are mostly knock-offs from China which explains the low price which you can even haggle on. You can really dress yourself up in ‘designer clothing’ and not go broke in the process.

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But my wife and I are not brand-conscious. As long as it fits, looks good, is comfortable and affordable, that’s what we buy.

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We’re not rich so we look for good bargains. But in doing so, we don’t buy knock-offs/counterfeits. You see we don’t want to steal another person’s property – which is what one does when one buys a knock-off.

A Taste of Humble Pie

Manny’s defeat devastated us. After eight world titles, millions of dollars in prize money, years of fame and political influence, Manny Pacquiao kisses the floor following a vicious shot from Juan Manuel Marquez. Yesterday, the best fighter left the ring a winner while the other suffered a humiliating defeat.

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His courage and dedication to the sport has been tested and his world titles prove it. But now is the time for his much publicized faith in God to undergo testing. If it is real, it will pass the test. And the first part of that test is to become NOTHING.

Nobody. In the world’s eyes, a loser or a has-been. From someone of influence to anonimity. Because in God’s scheme of things, a person full of himself and his achievements is useless in Kingdom work.

Many believe that a person’s power & influence would get you into the highest places where the Word can be preached. That people will listen to your message because of who you are. If that’s the case, then they’re saying that God’s Word and God’s Spirit are insufficient to reach out to the lost and God needs the help of millionaires and politicians.

But the Message is sufficient because “all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness, (1 Timothy 3:16)”. 

God’s concern is the condition of the vessel by which His message is sent. God uses empty vessels. And, yes, even cracked pots.

John the Baptist could’ve made himself a brand name but willingly stepped aside in favor of the coming Christ, who in John’s words, “… is mightier than I, and I am not fit to stoop down and untie the thong of His sandals.”  The religious leaders of their day considered Peter & John unschooled and yet these two ministered in power because the religious noted that these men spent time with Christ. The apostle Paul considered all his accomplishments and pedigree pure rubbish compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ. And there are other relevant models we can learn from.

As for many boxers, answering the bell was easy for Manny. He trained long and hard for that. But the call he must answer now is God’s, and if Manny is the Christian he says he is, he will have to train long and hard in God’s camp, according to God’s program, before God can effectively use him for service.

Yes, service. Because there is a higher calling than being world champion – and that is being God’s Servant.

"for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. (1 Peter 5:5b)" 

There’s A Point In Here Somewhere…

I love pointed shoes. I don’t know why, but pointed shoes appeal to me.

When shopping for shoes I’d get very frustrated if pointed shoes for men were not the fashion trend.

I always appreciate a woman who knows how to walk elegantly in stilettos. When asked to draw anything as part of a psychological exam, i’d draw a woman with long hair, long pants, and with pointed high-heeled boots or shoes.

I never did get the meaning of my drawing. Maybe I was told what it meant for me to have drawn that but I wasn’t listening. Maybe if I listened carefully I would’ve learned that I’m such and such or some other thing. But at my age, I don’t really care to know their interpretation of my drawing a long-haired woman wearing pointed shoes. I just know that I love pointed shoes.

I also know this – that God made each of us uniquely, with different tastes and traits. Therefore, my tastes do not actually define who I am, rather, it is God’s will and design for my life that defines me.

As pointed shoes were designed for a purpose, God designed me for a purpose – far greater than anything that I have to spend the rest of my life living it out, otherwise I miss the whole point of my existence.


I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. (Psalm 139:14)

True Colors

There were clowns in my godchild’s dedication this afternoon, all dressed up and putting on a good show. After their hour-long routine they took off their makeup, changed to everyday clothes, and got paid. They’ll do this again on their next gig.

We, however, have this knack of being in costume for as long as we can manage. We’d rather put on a show to impress other people, making them see what we want them to see and concealing our real selves. But we can never hide our true colors.

Outward appearances may fool most but clothing will not hide character. How we respond to everyday events and pressure gives us sneak peeks on what’s inside us. God sees us for who we really are. And because we can never hide anything from Him, it’s better for us to come clean before Him. God is able to change us inside out if we let Him and He’ll clothe us with His Son’s righteousness – a whole lot better than the silly costumes we wear in public.

“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”
(Hebrews 4:12-14)