Lifethoughts: Getting Ready

The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins

25 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.

6 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom [a]is coming; go out to meet him!’ 7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.

11 “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ 12 But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’

Matthew 25:1-12

Ready Your Oil

In the passage, Jesus was in the context of speaking about the end times. In explaining the end times to His listeners, one of the parables He told them was this one.

The parable divided 10 people into 2 – the foolish and the wise virgins, all of whom are waiting for their bridegroom to come. While all of them were waiting, all of them grabbed their own lamps, but here comes the difference. The wise had oil. The foolish had no oil. So the time came when they needed their lamps–midnight. Since the 5 wise virgins had oil, they could wait and they could focus on waiting for the bridegroom. The 5 foolish virgins had no oil, but had lamps. So they begged for oil from the 5 wise virgins which they refused to give. The 5 foolish virgins went on to buy oil leaving their state of waiting for the bridegroom. In the end, the bridegroom came, and the 5 foolish virgins who did not foresee the need for oil missed their bridegroom, who, refused to recognize them.

Being ready is preparing for something that you do not see coming. Sometimes, it takes years to prepare for something. Like the modulation of a song, improvisational sections, quick song turnovers, etc. But the bottom line in being ready is the ability to do whenever something is required of you.

In the context of the passage, Jesus was explaining what will happen when He comes back again. There are some people who will be ready–eagerly awaiting His arrival; spending years getting to know Him through His word; telling others that He will be coming soon. And there are some people who will not be ready–they pretend to be ready, but when the moment is near, they rush to do the things they should have been doing and preparing beforehand. In the end, those who are not ready will face the judgement as said in verse 12.

 But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’

How should we act as Christians?

We should be ready! Procrastination is deadly. In moments of crises like the COVID-19 pandemic, we are reminded of the nearness of His coming as these are the birth pains explained by Jesus in Matthew 24. People are now in high alert, getting ready. I don’t think it’s too late since we’re all still here reading this. But we should prepare our oil. What do you want Jesus to see once He comes back? A ready person? Or a person trying to buy oil the last minute? What do you want Jesus to see once He comes back? A person sinning? Or a person trying to know Him more?

How should we NOT act as Christians?

We should not feel relaxed. Jesus has no 15-minute grace period. He won’t be waiting for you to buy oil when He comes. We should not be complacent in getting to know Him more. We should not be complacent in studying His Word. We should not be like the 5 foolish virgins.

Is your oil ready?

What if Christ comes today? Is your oil ready? Or are you focused on other things that the oil comes last?

The bridegroom is coming. Jesus is coming! Just the fact that Jesus is coming to pick us up from the dying world should excite us and make us ready. He is not coming to condemn those who believe in Him, but instead to take us to our new home with golden streets and golden lamps. Prepare your oil!

Thoughts on Music: a-no-ba-yan

 

Chaos. Everywhere.

I hardly express what I think. I just know that music transcends all that I can ever hope to speak.

a-no-ba-yan – what now, country?/what the heck?, flute, clarinet, cello, piano, percussion, 2019, is a piece I wrote for the 10th anniversary of the Manila Composers Lab. It was premiered by Ensemble Hand Werk.

The title is a play of words: Ano ba ‘yan! (What the heck), or Ano, bayan?! (What now, my country). It is my social commentary on the events surrounding the country during that time (February 2019)–fake patriotism, sovereignty, national vs. personal interest–which is still relevant until now. We are always presented with statements and actions that are in fact layers and layers of facts, sometimes lies, that we, as citizens, should pull apart ourselves, sometimes causing hearsay/fake news, or mis-interpretation.

A melody is quoted from Nicanor Abelardo’s work Ang Aking Bayan which talks about how beautiful the Philippines is, but how it is being exploited by non-Filipinos. The haunting first 6 notes of the song reminds one of the same recurrence of an age old Filipino problem from the 1920s still existing until now–how the Philippines is being “loved” the wrong way.

The use of bean-pod rattles ushers in a personal layer of my journey as a composer. Finding my identity as a young Filipino composer, I am faced with my musical lineage of composers like Jose Maceda, Ramon Santos, and Jonas Baes, of how instruments were used to re-create the soundscapes of the Philippine countryside and how Filipino modernist music should be able to project materials and inspirations from our own, and how I am also faced with the vast world of contemporary music outside the Philippines and Southeast Asia in terms of sound, notation, and performance practice.

Another layer of thought is how, up to now, the Filipino diaspora has been affecting Filipino families. I have had friends who needed to leave the country for better conditions. As my dear friends in the Ripieno Ensemble, I was faced with confusion even as I reflect on my journey as a composer and director of the said Ensemble.

Moreover, this piece is a reflection of what I think our condition is as a country, also reflecting on conversations, posts and shares of friends on social media. And in all these, I say, there is always hope. One’s allegiance should never be in a political figure or political party, but to God and country.

Life Thoughts: the Righteous, the Wicked, and current events

‘ For the righteous will never be moved; he will be remembered forever. He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord . His heart is steady; he will not be afraid, until he looks in triumph on his adversaries. He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor; his righteousness endures forever; his horn is exalted in honor. The wicked man sees it and is angry; he gnashes his teeth and melts away; the desire of the wicked will perish!’ Psalms 112:6-10

In light of all the crazy things that has happened in the Philippines yesterday, anxiety has enveloped many people. So this morning, I went back to my only source of hope during these times–the Bible.

I have been going through a 1 year plan to read the whole Bible, so it came as a surprise that today’s passage perfectly coincides with the events happening in the country.

My Position

“One should have a position.” That is what we were always taught in the University of the Philippines. But as a Christian minister, I am very hesitant to have one. I always taught that as a believer, one should always adhere to the Bible’s teaching that the government was placed by God as an authority over me. My parents instilled in me that teaching as well preventing me from joining any kind of rally or political uprising when I was in college. In other words, I cannot help but to have contrasting views on this.

I am disgusted, yes. Such evil character should not be in leadership. In a time of great crisis, the citizens should rely greatly on what the government can do. But if the national government reflects this evil, cartoonish character, what is there left to hope for from them?

But at the same time, I am taking this considerably conservative. You won’t see me changing my profile picture on Facebook or Instagram just to be together with the multitude of people online holding a virtual rally.

And that led me to this passage.

The Righteous

The passage spoke about the position of the righteous–he will never be moved. The Hebrew word for the word moved means shaken, fall, falter. And because of that, the righteous will be remembered. The people will always mention his name. He will be renown.

Then, the passage expounds on the character of the righteous man:

  1. He is not afraid of bad news.
    • If we think of leadership, bad news is inevitable. But this crisis is bad news on its highest level. The righteous man/leader should be able to accept that challenge of even viewing the bad news. Why? Because #2:
  2. His heart is firm, trusting the Lord
    • This can be a point of reflection. Personally, I do not like bad news. I am even cautious of opening Facebook and Twitter during the day as it causes one to be anxious. But because I am a child of God, and therefore right before God, this passage urges me not to be afraid of bad news. If my heart is firm in the Lord, then no bad news can ever shake me.
  3. His heart is steady, and in the end he will be triumphant over enemies
    • In times of crises, a steady heart means that the mind of the righteous man is in the game. He can think properly. There is no panic in him even though his adversaries speak dirty words against him. One is focused on the task ahead. There are a lot of useless words and accusations thrown against government officials doing their jobs correctly, people who we know are fearful of the Lord. We have seen how steady they are in responding to difficulties even though people throw garbage against them. This passage tells us that their steady heart will cause them to be triumphant over people who talk garbage against them.
  4. He has given to the poor freely
    • In the time when giving to those in need has never been more emphasized, the passage speaks about the righteous man giving to the poor freely. Most people in position are doing that already (I suppose). As a personal reflection, what can we do to help people in need? I am sure that we have seen a lot of ways to donate. Let us do so! Giving to people in need is part of our position in Christ as His children.
  5. His horn will be lifted in honor
    • The passage ends its enumeration of the righteous man by seeing that man be lifted in honor. The righteous man will never moved down. He will never be dragged down. People will see him be lifted up. And it all starts with a correct heart as one is open in facing bad news with his hope firmly in the Lord.

The Wicked

There is but one verse dedicated for the wicked. In contrast to the steadiness of heart of the righteous man, the wicked look at him and becomes angry–maybe jealous–because of all the things the righteous has achieved. They melt away. They hide. Ultimately, in contrast to the righteous, they will perish.

Reflection

This is what the Bible says. It is very reflective of what is happening now. People who fear the Lord, doing their job well are pulled down, while we see the wicked burst in hate and anger towards the righteous and towards other people as well.

But above all, this passage taught me that, still, the strongest force in the world is God Himself. There is stillness, there is steadiness, there is righteousness in God. And even though the world may fail (quite literally), even though the government may fail (literally), the Lord holds the righteous.

This is a great comfort as a child of God because I am reminded that if I set my heart right, I will never be shaken.

Life Thoughts: The Lord as Our Dwelling Place

Because you have made the Lord your dwelling place— the Most High, who is my refuge— no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent.

Psalm 91:9-10

 

This passage talks about how God is the refuge of the psalmist. He also says that he is protected by God against enemies and against pestilence.

This is very timely. In the middle of quarantine and I still am finding ways to make sense out of all this chaos. I know that God is in control, but as human, I am struggling to find any kind of answer, to find any glimpse of hope that is definite.

Right now, for all of us, our homes are our dwelling places. As our governments have mandated, we should not leave our homes lest sacrifice the chance of spreading the virus. And this is where this passage comes into play.

Is this pandemic a wake up call from God? Is he our dwelling place? Is money? Is our career? Is our comfort our dwelling place? For something to be our dwelling place, we must find comfort in it. Like our rooms for example. We find comfort in it as it becomes our dwelling place. The same way, we should find comfort in God not just during these tough times but even in times of joy and comfort.

Do I find comfort in the presence of God? Do I find comfort in His promises?

It’s good to recall that not too long ago (before this all started), that prayer was not a necessity. But now, even our governments encourage us to pray. Which makes me think, do we just dwell on God as our dwelling and hiding place in times of trouble?

In the midst of chaos and confusion, of death and of sickness, of loneliness and boredom, may we dwell on the Lord. In Him there is peace, there is comfort, there is love, there is joy…even in the middle of all of this.

The world may overwhelm us but He has always overwhelmed the world.

Life Thoughts: Crossing the Sea

And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord , which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”

Exodus 14:13‭-‬14 ESV

At the Red Sea during their exodus of Egypt, the Israelites were being chased by the Egyptians. So the Israelites became afraid and blamed Moses for that. They told him that they should have been in Egypt all along. So Moses told them this passage.

  1. Fear not
    1. There are many times in life that I am afraid without being reminded that God is on my side. He has brought me to this journey so far. Why should I be afraid?
  2. Stand firm
    1. Like the Israelites, there is a tendency to leave the faith and to believe in what is convenient. Standing firm reminds me to have faith on what God says in the Bible.
  3. See the salvation of the Lord
    1. Let God work. Sanctification is the process I am in. And God is continuously saving me from sin and misery. This is part of life in God. And I have no power to go against what is about to come my way nor can I save myself.

I pray that I may be reminded of what God can do. I pray that I be still before Him.

Life Thoughts: From Evil to Good

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

Genesis 50:20 ESV

Joseph’s brothers feared that he will retaliate once their father died. But Joseph assured his brothers that he will not. And he told them that what they did bad to him, God turned around as He apparently had a wonderful plan affecting Joseph, his family, and the known world during that time.

This reminded me of how bad things can happen to good people. People always ask that question as if God is an unfair being.

He is God. And His thought process can never be understood by finite beings like us.

However tragic, painful, sad, disgusted we may be over something that has happened, in the end it has a good purpose. As much as it is hard, we need to believe that it has a purpose under the sovereign will of God. As children of God, these things are turned around for God to make us remember that indeed all things work together for our good. That promise will never change.

As for the passage, we can imagine having that conversation with bad people. We can imagine telling the devil that he meant things for bad. But in continuing that passage, God will turn it around and use that bad situation for our good. He is still in control of our lives.

Life Thoughts: Numbering Our Days

Psalm 90:12

So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

 

Kobe Bryant died earlier this week. It should not really affect me, but it did. Then I though of why it did.

These are topics that I don’t really get to speak about in public. But now, things are different because someone is linked to me for a lifetime, and I am forever linked to someone–my wife.

I think I am deeply affected not only because he is a generational star who greatly influenced those of my generation and the next to mine, but because he lived and left with people linked to him forever–his wife and children.

I am sick. I feel sick to my stomach thinking of how his wife is getting through all this. I cannot imagine what it must feel to have someone linked to you forever, the flesh of your flesh, the bone of your bone, forever gone. I cannot begin to imagine how someone who you gave your life for, who you chose turning back all that you have known your entire life is suddenly gone. I cannot begin to imagine to grief of losing a part of yourself, better yet your entire self as one is linked to another.

This is life. The Bible says that we are but a vapor, a mist that appears and then vanishes away (James 4:14).

To the people who we are linked to forever, the flesh of our flesh, the bone of our bone–our spouses, our children, our parents–there is only one thing to do: live like it’s the last day; cherish every moment.

When one lives like it is his last day, one tends to cherish all that there is with the faint idea of all being gone tomorrow. When one lives like it is his last day, one tends to enjoy the good moments, and leave behind the bad ones. When one lives like it is last day, the anticipation of a cadence, an end, is unexpected.

That’s why I will grab the most of my time and spend it with my wife, telling her that she means all the world to me; I will show my family I love them; I will show my friends I care for them. For what is life but a mist.

Maybe the reason why it hurts is because this tragedy reminded me of the shortness of life and how I do not live like it is.

Life is short. Make the most out of it.

Life Thoughts (Sermon Series): God and my Hurt

1 Thess. 1:6-10

Following God even in hardship makes us reflect Him more.

Mga bagay na ayaw natin sa buhay. Mga bagay na sana wala nalang sa buhay. Tama ba?

Hindi tayo natutuwa kapag may kakilala tayo in pain. Lalo nang hindi dapat tayo matuwa kapag tayo ang in pain. Pero in this world, there is always hurt. There is always pain. What should we do sa gitna ng kalungkutan? What should we do sa gitna ng sakit? I’m a christian. So how will God still use me?

At naalala ko yung mga story nila, kasi pag kinakausap ko ung mga kuya ang ate ng SPIN, minsan yun talaga yung mga nakaka strike sa kanila. Yung mga ganong story. And alam ko for some it kept them trusting God more dahil nakikita nila yung mga mas bata sa kanila na pumupunta ng SPIN. They kept on following God in spite of difficulties. And that made others Know God more.

And that is reflected sa ating passage ngayong umaga in 1 Thess. 1:6-10. at magandang simulan natin ang mensaheng ito by thinking that Following God even in hardship makes us glorify Him more. May kantang laging pinapatugtog sa LPC nung elementary ako kapag flag ceremony.

Lord, I have no more strength. I cannot carry my family. Lord mahirap na. Lord masakit na. Lord confused na ako.

It is in God that we find our strength. And it is in God that we can channel that pain into a blessing someday. At yan ang ating makikita sa ating passage.

We will be looking at 3 points from verse 6 to 10. starting with verse 6.

Verse 6

        1. Follow 6
          1. Ito ang una sa dalawang letter ni Paul sa mga taga Thessalonica. Paul started this church, naandon siya for a couple of weeks, and because of opposition from the Jews, kailangan niyang umalis. At yung mga tao sa Thessalonica were left with no choice. Dati silang mga pagans, naka-kilala sa Panginoon through Paul, and because of politics, and opposition from the people na hindi taga-don, from people na may ibang tinuturo tungkol kay Hesus, Paul had to go in the midst of persecution. And so yun din ang naiwan ni Paul sa Thessalonica–persecution from the Jews to the newly converted pagans of Thessalonica. And in those difficult times, Paul wrote them this letter.
          2. with this brief background, malalaman natin na yung mga Thessalonians may pinag-dadaanang matindi. May persecution because of the Jews, maybe they have depression kasi ang saglit lang ni Paul doon, maybe confusion because as young Christians, they dont know what to do. And in verse 6, yun ang inaddress ni Paul>>>>>
          3. And here, Paul was stating facts. Sabi niya, aking mga anak, sa lahat ng pinagdaanan niyo, at pinagdadaanan niyo ngayon, nagpapasalamat ako sa Diyos dahil you still imitated us, and received the word of God in much tribulation. Malungkot kayo, depressed kayo, confused kayo, siguro galit kayo, BUT, you still chose to follow God and allow yourself to be discipled by us. Through difficult times, the Thessalonians chose to follow, to obey, to listen to Paul. Yung iba may persecution from the Jews. Yung iba may persecution from their old religion, but they chose to listen to Paul. Yung iba marahil confused–kasi isipin niyo–si Paul Jew, tapos may iba pang Jew na sinasabing sinungaling si Paul. So kanino kami maniniwala? But Paul said sa verse 6, that they received the Word of God still. Yung iba, pwdeng isipin, e umalis is Paul, balik nalang kami sa dati naming religion. Pero hindi. They continued, and they received the Word of God.
          4. Today, we can see this in 2 levels. Ngayon, ang salita ng Diyos ay inaatake. At kasama na tayo don. Ilang linggo ko nang nakikita yung katagang God is love sa FB. Pero sa maling paraan ginagamit. San ba tayo nakatayo? We are under attack. Yung mga paniniwala natin, yung foundation natin, constantly ridiculed ng mga tao. At dapat as a church, ngayon talaga tayo magtiwala at sumandal sa sinasabi ng salita ng Diyos. We are under attack, and it is in these times that we should continually receive the Word of God. Ito yung mga times that we have to go deeper. Dahil sa pagiging deeper sa salita ng Diyos, mas makikita natin yung puso ng Diyos, mas makikita natin kung paano dapat natin itreat yung mga confused na tao sa paligid natin. Mas makikita natin that when we go deeper, kahit anong dumaan na bagyo, trying to shake our faith, hindi tayo matitibag.
          5. Another level is our personal hurt. Nandito ka ngayon sa church and you might be experiencing some kind of hurt. A heart break, confusion, persecution. Baka andito ka today at confused ka as ever sa future mo. Tinitignan mo mga tao sa paligid mo, mga kasabay mo dati, feeling mo naiwan ka na kasi kung san san na sila na punta. Yung iba siguro wala na dito sa church, baka hindi mo na lagi nakikita. Maybe nandito ka today because you have been hurt ever since bata ka pa. At ngayon parang bumabalik lahat ng sakit kasi tumatanda ka na, pero hinahanap mo parin yung joy ng having a parent, or having a family. You might have this hurt, or this confusion, or baka agam-agam, o baka hate and anger towards someone, or isang sakit mo or ng family member. And it is a difficult time na minsan tinatanong mo na, Where is God? Have you ever asked that question? Where is God? Where is God when there is confusion? Where is God when it hurts? Where are you Lord, that I need you now? The Bible says that God is ever-present.

 

  • And In difficulties, trusting God is your choice. God did not leave. Kung paano ang Diyos noong naligtas ka, hindi naman nag bago yon. If you are going deeper in Christ, marerealize mo na kung ano siya nung na-save ka, He is actually so much more now, because you know Him more. God did not leave. The Bible is still the same. Kaya even if you are hurt, if you are persecuted, if society changes, if the church is persecuted–God does not change a bit. We all need to trust God more in difficult times. At yung mga difficult times na yon, sometimes God allows them to happen so that we can see Him more. You are in a test. Who do you trust? Who do you look up to?

 

        1. Ps 121:1-2,, sing>>>>
        2. Alam niyo God is ever present. And one reason for pain in our lives, is for us to glorify Him more. James 1:2-4 says>>>
        3. And sa Thessalonian church, God used their trouble as well. At makikita natin sa next verses how God was continually glorified through how the Thessalonians trusted in God more and more.

Verse 7

        1. receive 7
          1. Paul said in the passage, that because of their trust in God, na kahit marami silang trouble, marami silang persecution, marami silang agam-agam they received the Word and listened to Paul, they became an example for all believers in Macedonia and in Achaia. Map>>>
          2. At maganda makita natin sa mapa na ito, where the city of Thessalonica is. At alam niyo kung anong interesting? The letter to the Thessalonians ay actually ang pangalawang liham lamang na sinulat ni Paul out of all the other letters na sinulat niya. Anong ibig sabihin non?? Timeline>>>>>
          3. Tignan natin itong timeline na ito…
          4. Ang ibig sabihin nito, ay yung church in Thessalonica marahil ang isa sa mga rason kung bakit dumami yung mga simbahan sa area na yan. Map>>>>
          5. In other words, the thessalonian church is a model church for the whole country. They had impact in that way. And how I hope and pray na tayo sa CBC can have this great impact kung nasan tayo. And we can see it now, yung Center for Ministerial studies ng Febias ay magsisimula na next week. Napapa-isip at napap throwback ako while doing this. Pero just 3 years ago, nandun tayo sa estado kung saan malungkot marami sa atin dahil hindi natin alam kung san tayo paroroon. Hindi natin alam kung san tayo pupunta. Hindi natin alam kung may CBC pa the next couple of weeks or month. But here we are now, etong simbahan nang ito ang channel of blessing ng Panginoon dito sa Almanza with the help of FEBIAS. And sa Thessalonian church Because of their faith, because of their unwavering commitment to Paul and to God, the other churches and the other Christians followed them. They were inspired by their commitment to the Lord and His Word. Hindi sa leaders nila. They kept on receiveing the Word of God. They became a channel of blessing in a wide location. Ang tawag natin dyan ay testimony. And the thessalonian church had that testimony of trusting God in the midst of trials. And for us today, we can learn that

 

  • Our response to difficulties affects other Christians. Or churches. Or pastors. Or Bible schools. Or asawa natin. Or anak natin. Or mga magulang natin. Mga kaibigan, na matagal nang Kristyano at marahil sa reaction mo sa isang difficult time sa buhay mo, affected them, and made them know Christ more. Baka ikaw. Baka yung reason kung bakit ka nag commit ka sa Panginoon at sa church na ito ay dahil nakitaan mo yung discipler mo, nakitaan mo yung iba sa church leaders natin ng faith kahit na sila ay nasa kalgitnaan ng kahirapan at pagsubok. Maybe may alam tayong story ng isang Christian who persevered through trial, and that encouraged us to go on.
  • Dont give up! Kasi alam mo lahat ng pinagdadaan mo ay temporary. Baka iniisip mo, the pain is too much. The hurt is always there. The truth is that our pain and our past is part of who we are now. At bilang Kristyano, pano ka magrereact sa bagay na yon?

 

Jesus says we will have tribulation (John 16:33). Peter says we shouldn’t be surprised by suffering (1 Peter 4:12). James says to expect trials, and to count it all joy (James 1:2). And Paul says afflictions bring endurance and glory (Romans 5:3–5; 2 Corinthians 4:17).”

“God is most glorified when we declare him sufficient in the midst of great loss. Just as Job did.”

Rendal Vaneetha

      1. Lahat tayo dito may some sort of pain and trouble. How are you using your life, your past, your pain and hurt for the glory of God? We can use it to bring others to Christ.
      2. Last month yung unang fellowship namin sa trekkers. Sabi namin that work is a curse. But because tayo ay Kristyano na, we are redeemed, and so is everything that God entrusts us. At naisip ko, na yun ang same principle in our pain and hurt. We are redeemed. Saved na tayo. Binago na ng Panginoon ang circumstances ng ating buhay. Ibig sabihin nyan, pati yung mga baggages natin, yung mga nakaraang kabiguan natin binago nadin ng Panginoon yung circumstance dahil ngayon pwede na nating gamitin yon to relate to people, and to bring others to Christ. At yun ay magagawa natin if we continue to hold on to God kahit na sakit na sakit na tayo.
      3. And sa sa society and sa social media, madami tayong nakikitang nagviviral ang story dahil nag-endure siya in pain… This is what happened sa Thessalonian church as well…

Verse 8 -10

      1. Sound forth 8 – 10
        1. For the word of the Lord sounded forth
          1. Yung statement na ito nag tunog na parang maraming ginamit ang Panginoon mula sa Thessalonica to spread the word of the Lord. At madaming ministers na galing sa kanila. And may interesting fact na pwede tayong makita sa background ng mga Thessalonians. Kung babalik tayo sa mapa>>>>
          2. Makikita natin na yung Thessalonica ay nasa isang bay. At sa mga siyudad na malapit sa bay or nasa bay, kagaya ng Manila, Singapore, HK, New York, yung mga nakatira dito ay mga businessman. Mga traders, merchants. At yun nga ang usual na trabaho ng mga Thessalonian. Mga merchant sila. Kung baga, pwede nating isipin na mayamang siyudad ang Thessalonica, kagaya ng Singapore. May mga bangkero, iba ibang mayayaman. At dahil madaming trade, madami ding mayaman at mga socialite. And when paul said “sounded forth” yan ay dahil marami sa kanila ay mga Kristyanong merchant na byahe ng byahe sa mga karatig na siyudad. At kasama nila ay ang kwento ng kanilang kaligtasan. Ang tawag dyan ngayon ay marketplace missionaries. May trabaho sila, may businesses sila, pero layunin nila ay mapalaganap ang salita ng Diyos sa mga tao. Kaya pwede nating isipin na yung gospel ay talagan kumalat from Thessalonica.
          3. Yung tribulation na sinasabi ni Paul na meron yung Thessaloninans, yung kanilang struggles, yung persecutions na meron sila, yan ang dala ng mga Kristyano kung san man sila. Pati na yung pagtalikod nila sa idol worship. In fact sabi ni Paul, hindi ko na kailngan magsabi tungkol sa Diyos e. Kalat na kalat na yung tungkol sa Thessalonica. And the gospel sounded forth from that city through marketplace missionaries. And we can think that
        2. God can turn your difficulties into gospel opportunities. Its in the way you are seen kahit na madami kang iniisip, kahit na madami kang problema. At ang maganda pa dyan, gaya ng sa Thessalonica, yung iba pa ang nagkkwento sa iba ng pagka-amaze nila sa Panginoon sa ginawa sayo. At yung mga pagkakataon na yun sa buhay ay pwedeng gamitin ng Diyos to save other people–your family, your friends, your classmates and officemates.
        3. Naalala ko lang dahil sa Thessalonica, yung simula ng CBC…. Sila kasi nag turn from idol worship, alam niyo ba CBC din?>>>>>>
        4. At maganda balikan natin yung mga story na yun ng ating simbahan parang sa Thessalonica, so that people will know that our God is alive. And God can use your story. God will use that pain. Yan ay kung sa kanya ka sasandal ngayon na punong puno ka ng tanong at hinanakit. At dito sa church, madami na tayong nakitang ganyan. Nakabangon sa lugmok, nakabangon sa depression, nakabangon sa pagkawala ng mahal sa buhay, alam mo kapatid, God can use your past for His glory. Lahat ng parte ng buhay mo simula nang nagtiwala ka sa Panginoon, redeemed na. Your past, today, and your tomorrow, is what God can use to bring people to Him.
        5. Alam niyo its a matter of knowing who is always there. Lalo na in pain. Because God is always present. How can something so negative be used by God?  Bakit kailangan pa mamatay ni ano… Bakit pa namin kailangan maghiwalay… Bakit pa niya kailangan mawala, just for God to use me and my life. There is a reason na marahil hindi mo pa makita ngayon. But the question is, how are you responding to pain and hurt?

 

At kung andito ka ngayong umaga, and you are hurting. You are searching for answers, na convict ka today to trust in God more kahit na in pain ka, let me give you 10 reasons to hope when in hurt (CBN Asia)

 

      1. God is truly in control
        1. We dont know what the plan of God is. Pero the Bible is very clear na hindi pa natin nakikita ang next step, kita na ng Diyos ang dulo
      2. There is an eternal life to come
        1. Lahat ng nararanasan natin ngayon ay walang wala kumpara sa mararanasan natin sa langit kasama ang Diyos. So bring it on! It will be worth it one day,
      3. The story isnt finished yet.
        1. Tandaan niyo sa Bible, si Joseph nung nakulong? Simula lang yon ng story ng pagbless sa kanya ng Diyos. Si Job? Nawala lahat. Pero ibinalik sa kanya ng Diyos lahat, more than double nung meron siya nung una..
      4. God has not given up on you
        1. Hindi nagbabago ang Diyos. At ang Diyos hindi nag ghoshosting. The Lord is always with us through the Holy Spirit.
      5. There is purpose in your pain
        1. Kung titignan mo yung ibang tao, after the pain, after the struggle, they come out stronger than ever. They come out with more faith, and with more foundation sa Panginoon. There is purpose in your pain. Dahil kung wala kang pain, nasa langit ka na because we all experience pain.
      6. You are loved
        1. By God. Hindi ka niligtas ng Diyos para lang pabayaan maging in pain. Niligtas ka niya para sa langit at para mag grow sa kanya at mas makilala Siya. You are loved, and God want you to know Him more.
        2. By people around you. This church. Isang samahan ng mga hindi plastic na tao. Tama ba? If you are in pain, sabihin mo don sa taong pinagkakatiwalaan mo dito sa church. Know that someone will listen
      7. Your prayers are heard
        1. Baka iniisip mo hindi ka pinapakinggan ni Lord. Kung Kristyano ka, He is listening to your prayers. Tumatiming lang si Lord, kung tingin mo matagal. But the Bible is clear na minsan hindi na natin alam sasabihin, so the Spirit intercedes on our behalf. Hawak ka ng Diyos.
      8. You are not facing this alone
        1. Sabi ko nga kanina, lahat tayo may nararanasan na pain. Itong church na ito, hindi samahan ng mga perpektong tao na nakaranas na ng langit.kundi lahat ng nasa tabi mo at nasa likod at harap mo nakaranas ng pain na pwedeng gamitin ng Diyos for his glory.
      9. Others have made it through, so can you.
        1. Dont lose hope! Baka magulat ka, kasi mas may matindi pa palang napagdaanan sayo. God is in your side, and He can help you go through this.
      10. Reach out to someone else who is struggling
        1. Lalo na kung naging victorious ka sa isang pain na naranasan mo. Your story, your faith can help someone else get through the pain. At malay mo, God can use that person in the future to minister to more people.

 

Kaya mga kapatid, no pain, no gain. Gabi gabi umiiyak ka sa Panginoon. Kulang nalang maging basahan na yung unan mo. Have hope in God. Trust God. That is your choice. If you side with pain, choice mo din yon.

 

 God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

C.S Lewis

 

 

Trust God in the midst of your hurt.

Life Thoughts (Exhortation Series): The Greatness of God’s Name

Phil. 2:9-11 says

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

The greatness of God know no bounds. It is seen in the sky, over the seas, and in one’s changed heart. Today, let us sing of how God’s greatness pierces through the heavens and to our very soul.


Every knee will bow and every tongue will say that Jesus is Lord. He is Savior, He is Lord. He is the lion and the lamb.


As we continue to dwell on who God is, may this be a reminder, that however great the Lord is, He did not remain a watcher over our lives. He did not remain an observer, but He became involved in our every day lives that He died while we were yet sinners. He is the rock of our salvation. He is the rock upon which our lives stand.


In his name, every knee will bow! What is in His name that men and all creatures bow? Well, Jesus is the name above every name. Jesus is the name upon we are saved. Jesus is a reminder that God is with us. Jesus is the beginning and the end. The name of the Lord is a strong and mighty tower.

Life Thoughts (Exhortation Series): Tuning our Hearts

Love God. Love people. This is one of the greatest things Christ has taught his disciples when he was here on earth. He taught that love of God cannot be replaced by any action, by any means of giving, by any method of worship, and that in reality, all that we do will never compare to the glory and awe of God. But how can we say that we love God if there are things that block our view of Him?

In the Bible, the stone was in the way of the disciples. They forgot what Jesus said of Him rising from the grave again. They spent time with the Lord the whole 3 years of his ministry but failed to remember what He directly said to them. The stone blocked their view of God. And in our lives today, there can be so much things that can block our view of God. These are big stones in front of our faces that make us forget right away what the Bible says,that sometimes once reading or studying the Bible, we then occupy ourselves with the things of the world and forget what the Word says.

We need to tune out hearts. We need to break that big stone away from our line of sight, so that it is only in the Lord that we can seek salvation in this dying world. As we sing songs of worship today, may we again remind ourselves that our hearts are offered to the Lord.


The cross. The cross is a symbol of death and surrender. And imagining a cross we can picture the death of Christ, with his arms wide open but in total agony. How can we not love God more that in his pain and suffering his intention was life and love for all who believe. As we continue to sing, may we be reminded of the gospel, of the cross, and of the life that God gave.


Love God. Love people. The Bible says that we love because He first loved us. We have this model of love that has come from the unconditional, forgiving, perfect and unlimited love that God gave through Christ when he died on the cross for us. It is a perfect model.

In the Bible, the pharisess thought they got rid of Jesus Christ when the stone from his grave was rolled. It was the stone that made them blinded to what Jesus was and made them focus on themselves, their pride, their own honor, their disgust of the ways of Jesus, and how He is to take away their sense of religion.

For us today, our focus on ourselves, our search for knowledge of whatever study, even of God can be the stone that blocks our view of others need. You may have someone in your midst who is in dire need of love and care, but maybe we have failed to address this because we are too preoccupied with things for ourselves. As we continue to sing, may we be reminded of the great commission, that we are to make disciples, and in producing more followers of Christ, we are to love them as well.


Who is man that you are mindful of us? Who are we that you would die just for us to realize that it is love that centers your sacrifice? Lord we pray that we find our identity in you. May we be reminded that your sacrifice paid it all. My sin, my emotional debt, my guilt and shame. You have paid it all. Even the things that I do not know I owe. You have paid it all.

As children of God, we lift up your name, we worship you today as our God and father.