January 5, 2021
The night that was may have been dark, the moon and stars were hid behind the clouds, and there was not a song from the nightingale, yet the sun breaks forth again. For as long as there is time and a breath of life, there is new hope, new morning, and new life.
22 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.(Lamentations 3:22-23, ESV)
Blessing of Hope and Healing
New Year 2021
Christmas and New Year are exactly a week apart. In the Scripture, the origin of Christmas is “Passover”, the pascha in Hebrew or pesah in Aramaic. The first time it was mentioned in the Bible was during the deliverance of God’s people from bondage in Egypt, specifically about the tenth plague upon the Egyptians to break the will of the Pharaoh so that he would let God’s people free to go to land of promise.
Before the tenth plague, God commanded Moses to tell the Israelites to mark their door posts with the blood of a lamb sacrifice, so that the angel who would come in the night to kill all the firstborn in Egypt, would pass over their homes. Night came, and there was a loud cry all over the place because every home, including the Pharaoh’s, succumbed to the plague, except for God’s people who had the blood sacrifice by their doors. By morning, the Pharaoh was broken. Moses led the people out of Egypt and headed for a new life. Since then, God’s people would call that event the Passover – the world’s “Christmas”.
Significant events happen in life. With small events, we do not always bother try to understand their meanings. However, when something big happens, we are shaken to our foundation and are moved to think deeper when they threaten our peace, stability, happiness, possessions, health, even our life. The world will do everything it can to protect itself, but often to no avail. True believers, however, would kneel to pray, seek God’s face, and ask for answers.
God is in control and have always been in control over everything that happens in this life and in this world. Whether it is about the alignment of the stars and planets in the universe, the changing of the seasons, or the mist that appears on our eyeglasses when we breathe through face masks, God puts all these in perfect order according to His will.
Regarding this lingering, yet hopefully ending pandemic, God has been speaking loudly. As God punished the Pharaoh and the Egyptians for keeping God’s people in bondage, in our faith we understand that God has been punishing this world that has been keeping people in sin’s bondage. Immorality, destruction and perversion of God’s creation, selfishness, materialism, godlessness, all these and more are the chains that make up for sins bondage.
God is love, and God loves us enough to awaken the world from spiritual slumber. God wants to bless with abundant life but not to the extent that the gifts are glorified more than the Giver. God wants people to be healthy and strong, but not to use health and strength merely for self-gratification, but rather, for His people to use all that He gives for the building of His kingdom to the glory of His name. God sent His Son to die for our sin to give us eternal life, so that we can joyfully use this life for His purposes.
The plagues in Egypt were a much bigger pandemic. But God’s people were spared because of their lamb’s sacrifice. God will spare the world and will spare His own people. But we need to do our part. God is no longer asking people to pour lambs’ blood on their door posts. Our sacrifice is different now. We must make our lives a clear and unmistakable reflection of our faith in God, in two important dimensions – the inward and outward being. The outward should be easy for most people, for they are simply about worldly matters. The heavy work is about renewing the heart – removing pride, selfishness, idolatry, and coldness towards God.
By God’s word, we are equipped to change our outward selves. Being convicted by God’s word will renew our hearts. And then, God will begin to heal our minds, our hearts, our lives, and renew our hope, all for His glory alone. So, I pray for the Lord’s healing for each one of us, and for God to rekindle our hope in Him. A blessed New Year to all!
What Matters Most
December 24, 2020
Emerging from a trying year, it's a welcome sight to see people gradually upbeat again, going out and enjoying the holidays, sunny days, shopping, decorating homes, exchanging gifts and greetings, yet still observing health guidelines.
Hope is flourishing once again. Despite setbacks, our hearts are glad and thankful, knowing heaven sees us through. And in all these, we remember our most precious blessings - families, friends, and the warmth of home.
May this season's most meaningful blessings pour unto you and dwell abundantly in your hearts and homes.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given! (Isaiah 9:6)
Oh, Night Divine
December 20, 2020
A long time ago in a place far away a beautiful thing happened one ordinary day. A piece of swaddling cloth turned into a royal robe, a rugged feeding trough became a tender cradle, and a bunch of lowly herders were afforded the best seats in the eternal theatre of life to witness the glorious unfolding of hope.
We are ordinary people going through extraordinary challenges. Yet, we become extraordinary for it is our relationship with the Lord that makes us special.
Love peace, and joy to everyone in this blessed season of hope!
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people (Ephesians 1:18).
December 8, 2020
There was a beautiful monastery built by a monk named Cura a long time ago. The twelve monks who later lived there only knew the Cura from stories. As the years passed and the twelve grew older the place got neglected and grew old as well. Seeing the sad state of the place, the twelve got together and resolved to fix the problem, but they could not find the solution. Nonetheless, they agreed they should send brother Philipp to consult the old sage who lived in the woods. Ater telling the story and expecitng a clear answer, the sage said, "The spirit of the Cura is among you," and would not say more.
Philipp reported to the others who likewise were at a loss but pondered the sage's message. Each quietly musing, "Could the Cura be Jose since he is the wisest? or, Manolo since he is the kindest?" and so on. As the days passed and they continued to ponder on who the Cura might be, something began to happen. They started relating to each other more reverently, quietly thinking the Cura could be anyone of them. The became more prayerful, helpful, and they started to listen more to each other.
None of the twelve noticed that the place slowly became tidier, the plants greener, and the flowers were blooming again. The twelve were also smiling and lauging more often. Only when the townsfolk began visiting and having picnics in the garden that the twelve noticed the change that was happening
December 1, 2020
The service we render, the good that we do, the smile and greetings we share with one another, all these and more we do because of that which we value and find fulfillment in.
28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those wo are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28)
"Perhaps this is the moment for which you have been created (Esther 4:14)
October 28, 2020
Faith allows us to see opportunities beyond obstacles, feel renewed surges of energy over exhaustion, see the silver lining about dark clouds, make a way through the wilderness, sail through the storm, go through the tests of life and come out as refined gold.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1)
But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. (Job 23:10)
It Will Be Alright
October 21, 2020
Overcasts do not last. The night is darkest before the dawn. Keep breathing and looking ahead. Beyond saying "Hang in there," lean on and dwell in the safety of the Almighty.
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God: for I shall again praise Him, my salvation and my God. (Psalm 43:5)
October 15, 2020
Freedom provides a great latitude in exercising power to make choices and to act. But freedom is not absolute for it ends when it collides with another's. Therefore, freedom must be used for doing what is good and beneficial, not just for the self but for the many.
23 "All things are lawful," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful," but not all things build up. 24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. (1 Corinthians 10:23-34)
3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4)
October 6, 2020
Life is a journey. Therefore, it serves well to let go of unnecessary baggage, those that lay heavily on your shoulders, weigh your heart down and limit growth. Cut loose from a painful past, get over it, move on, and see yourself grow.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance that race that is set before us. (Hebrews 12:1)
7 Cast all your cares upon him; for he cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)
December 14, 2019
When you start forgetting where the keys are, spilling your coffee, forgetting appointments, rushing to finish food that you don't even enjoy, getting irritated quickly, sighing more frequently, when the person in the mirror struggles to smile back at you, your stressors are causing distress. Slow down.
Psalm 46:10; Matthew 11:28-30