Just a Journey

Photobucket

Photobucket

There are only a few days remaining before the whole world celebrates Christmas. But while the world is busy preparing for that day, many of the people in our country, families after families, are busy burying their dead. Saturday, December 17, Typhoon “Sendong” hit the southern part of the Philippines, mainly, cities of Cagayan de Oro and Iligan, leaving hundreds dead in the massive landslide caused by it.

As most people around the world are busy shopping in posh malls, trying on clothes and shoes, wrapping gifts, dining with family and friends, there are hundreds of typhoon victims in our land who are busy collecting clean water from leaking pipe, queuing up in a long  line with the hope to get food packed in styro, all the time trying to blot the horror of it all – seeing their loved ones washed away by the rushing muddy floodwaters.

(source)

(Above photos from Yahoo News, Phils.)

(source: Philippine News)

The earth is sighing, groaning, weeping. And what is the Lord thinking or feeling about all this? What is the meaning of all this? What is our life?

But this is not our home. We don’t belong here. We are just passing through. If we have put all our hope in this life only, then we are truly a most pitiable people!

If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. (1 Cor. 15:19)

Life on earth is very fleeting. Compared to eternity, lifetime becomes negligible. If we think only of this life, then life, really, is devoid of meaning. But if we make it a pilgrimage, a journey, then we, as pilgrims, have hope beyond this life – a bright, shining future – in Christ Jesus our Lord.

But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (Heb. 11:16 NLT)

The three wise men traveled far from the East to go and worship the King that was born. They journeyed with only the star as their light and guide, each bearing precious gift for the Messiah. They set out for this pilgrimage full of hope that they are going to see the King, and they persevered. At the end of their journey, they saw Him and rejoiced greatly.

We must be like the three wise men, setting out on a pilgrimage, closely following His light, persevering, hoping, and expecting that at the end, we will see Him face-to-face and great will be our joy! For this King that was born in a humble manger came to bring us hope and the promise of eternal life.

The Lord Jesus Christ is calling, “I am your salvation”. Let’s heed His voice.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever. (Rev. 21:4 NLT)

Also in this series:

Devotions for a Christ-filled Christmas Day 1: What’s in Your Sock? {Part 1: UNICEF}
Devotions for a Christ-filled Christmas Day 2: What’s in Your Sock? {Part 2: Warm Christmas}
Devotions for a Christ-filled Christmas Day 3: The Goodness of the Lord
Devotions for a Christ-filled Christmas Day 4: Yes and Amen!
Devotions for a Christ-filled Christmas Day 5: The Way to the Manger
Devotions for a Christ-filled Christmas Day 6: The Widow and the Fatherless
Devotions for a Christ-filled Christmas Day 7: “I Must Decrease”
Devotions for a Christ-filled Christmas Day 8: Thankfulness
 

This is linked to Walk With Him Wednesday, Proverbs 31 Thursday, Spiritual Sundays

That They May Know Thy Name

My long-time friend, she tells me of her many troubles. How, after almost two years had passed, their family hasn’t quite recovered after the great flood of 2009 deluged our homes and communities. Unfortunately, the flood didn’t only wash away the people’s belongings, but also the future and hope of some, my friend included.

She tells me how she works doubly hard just to be able to recover their losses, not only in their home, but most of all in their business. How she wakes up at dawn everyday to go about their businesses that she’s trying to revive; how the burden and demands of managing these enterprises weigh down heavily on her weary, weary body and mind. And how she can’t discuss all these problems to her husband who, himself, is suffering from an illness caused by much stress in his work.

And she tells me how sometimes she wants to end her life because she’s too weary and heavy-laden.

I am shocked, and I tell her that that’s the way of thinking of people who are far from God. And she admits that she is far from God, that she has forgotten Him in their time of prosperity.

So I bid her to come to Jesus. I tell her of the life that’s fully surrendered to Him, letting Him reign in the family, and serving and worshiping Him truly and faithfully – a life that completely trusts in Him and in His goodness – that this is the life where Jesus’ unfailing love and His very present help in time of need are present. I tell her that the Lord Jesus Christ will never leave nor forsake us.

I invite her to Church, to come worship with us. I tell her to let me know when she can. (I try not to be too pushy because I know she’s wary of such things).

There is a long silence in our exchange of messages. I feel the unpreparedness (or unripeness of the harvest?) on her part, and then, a polite “OK”. And there, our conversation ends.

Some people like to confide their problems and seek counsel, but when faith is brought up, an invisible wall seems to come up and isolates them where they are hard to reach.

Who doesn’t have troubles? I myself am acquainted with them, but I have known the power of God’s love in my life – how it has never failed, nor will ever fail – because I have known His name. And it’s His face I seek, morning and evening.

This weekend, we pray for friends, and other people out there, that they would come to know the name above every other name, the only Savior Jesus Christ. And that, they too, would receive Him and all His promises of an abundant life (John 10: 10), now and in the age to come, eternal life. Amen.

Linking up with Spiritual Sundays, Time-warp Wife, Domestically Divine, Women Living Well, Raising Homemakers

Journey with Jesus,

Living in Hope

This is one of our santan plants that was submerged, along with other plants, during the 2009 flood. When the floodwaters subsided, the plants were covered with thick mud beyond recognition. Now, one summer and one rainy season later, they are defiantly blooming once again.

This reminds me of the Lord Jesus’ resurrection. What, really, is the essence of the Lord’s resurrection in our already-redeemed lives? 

We can hope that there emerges new life from floods that overflow us: in illnesses that drag us to the grave, in afflictions that fling us to the dark pit, in heartbreaking problems that engulf us. From the depths and the darkness, we can hope – as the Lord rose up from the grave and lives forever – to come forth, to emerge, to rise up in victory, and spring to a new life, by the power of God.

 

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. (Rom. 8: 11)

 

This is the essence of our hope: the Lord’s resurrection. Our Savior, Healer, Deliverer lives forever, therefore our hope never ends. 

 

I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore…(Rev. 1: 18)

 

As long as we believe in the power of the Lord’s resurrection, we can live in hope – however indescribably hard our situation is – that there will always be a new life that will emerge, that will spring forth.

 

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death. (Phil. 3: 10)

 

I have another powerful testimony to share with you:

Brother Lauro Ombac sought healing from the Lord of his leprosy. He found JESUS MIRACLE CRUSADE INTERNATIONAL MINISTRY and there, he received Him as his Lord and Savior. He was counseled by beloved Honorable Pastor Wilde E. Almeda to pray with fasting. He did it by fasting for two meals each day (he only ate once everyday in the afternoon) for 30 days.

Gradually, he obtained the healing that he was seeking for. 

 

So you shall serve the Lord your God, and he will bless your bread and your water. And I will take sickness away from the midst of you…I will fulfill the number of your days. (Exo. 23: 25, 26)

 

If we continue to serve the Lord, He will bless us and will take sickness away from our midst. But Bro. Lauro, with his newfound wellness, immersed himself in his work, and slowly withdrew from worshiping and serving the Lord. After three months or so, his leprosy returned, and it was worse than before.

This time, he was brought to TALA, a hospital in Novaliches, Quezon City that treats this kind of disease. When he arrived there, one of the patients asked him if he had a family. Bro. Lauro answered, yes, he has a family. The patient advised him to forget about his family. He said that those who are brought to the hospital, with a disease such as theirs, never go back home. He said that they are forgotten, until they die.

But Bro. Lauro had once known the saving and healing power of God. Although the hospital is known to be a dead-end road for lepers, he didn’t lose hope. All his days there, he lived in hope. By faith, he declared that he would go out of that place in three months’ time – healed.

Everyday, he worshiped the Lord. He was always on his knees, praising and praying. He also promised to serve the Lord all his life once he got out of that place. As the days went by, his skin became clean. The doctors and the other patients there were amazed at his healing: his wounds dried up and his skin was clean and clear.

After three months, he was released from the hospital upon his request. From that day on, Bro. Lauro served the Lord faithfully and fervently, and his disease never returned. He continues to offer prayers with fasting regularly. He is often found in crusades and wherever the Lord Jesus leads him, testifying and sharing the Gospel. 

For more testimonies of God’s miracles, click on the button below:

What is trying to entomb us right now? A sickbed, a hospital room, a prison of fear, an ocean of problems? Believe that the Lord, our Savior, ever lives to help, to deliver, to heal. Believe that the power of His resurrection will work in us, and He will raise us up.

Related post: Easter is for Prayer, Fasting and Crusades

Linking up with Domestically Divine, Women Living Well, Spiritual Sundays

 In Christ,   

After the Flood, the Flowers Bloom Again

On September 26, 2009, Saturday, Typhoon Ondoy (international name: Ketsana) deluged most parts of the country, including Metro Manila. Our village, which is in a suburb east of Metro Manila, was not spared. When the torrential rains finally stopped at around 8:00 in the evening, the muddy floodwater has risen to over 6 feet in the street, and on the fourth step of our stairs inside the house.

When the water finally subsided in the early evening of Sunday, it left a thick sludge that would take several days to remove. The flood took many lives, and properties and crops worth billions of pesos were damaged. I didn’t focus my heart on our properties that were damaged, or the huge expenses that we were to spend for the repairs. But my heart was overflowing with gratitude to the Lord that He has saved our whole family and our loved ones from the calamity. I was so thankful for His protection, though others were not as fortunate.

Our plants in the garden were covered by thick mud they couldn’t be recognized. I was wondering if they could survive at all. In fact, many of them perished. But the ones that were left, after shedding off their leaves, began forming new branches and leaves again. Soon, the flowers began blooming again and displaying their beauty!

Much could be learned from the flowers. Most people find it hard to recover and stand again after a calamity. Some would even question God and turn away from serving Him. But we look at the flowers which are “here today and gone tomorrow”, and we realize that they display the glory and majesty of the Creator of all, through every season. How much more us, who have been created in His likeness and blessed with every blessing?

When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shall not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. (Isaiah 43:2)

The Lord wants us to be “Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer” (Rom. 12:12). So just like the flowers, let’s stand up by His grace, and praise Him and let His glory be displayed in our lives, through every season!

These are the blooms in our garden (the others, not shown, are still buds):

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.