TEN

“Ten” lists have been so popular that people tend to check them out for the best recommendations and validation on their favorite song, movie, book, vacation spot, and many more. There is probably a “ten” list for anything. An ideal number, ten is—not too much for us to remember, not too little to doubt its credibility. When we say that someone or something is a “ten,” it implies perfection.

The bible also gives us many tens representing God’s authority, completion, and perfection:  the ten commandments, the ten plagues in Egypt, the ten virgins waiting for the bridegroom to come, and the tithe (tenth), just to name some. Amazingly, there is a perfect set of bible verses to remind us that God will never leave us nor forsake us:

wordpress-5851

1  Deuteronomy 31:6 – “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

2  Deuteronomy 31:8 –  It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

3  Joshua 1:5 –  “No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you.”

4  1 Kings 8:57 – “The Lord our God be with us, as he was with our fathers. May he not leave us or forsake us.”

5   1 Chronicles 28:20 –  “Then David said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the Lord God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished.”

6  Psalms 37:28 –   “For the Lord loves justice;  he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.”

7  Psalms 94:14 –  “For the Lord will not forsake his people; he will not abandon his heritage.”

8  Isaiah 41:17  “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the Lord will answer them; I the God of Israel will not forsake them

9  Isaiah 42:16 – “I will lead the blind in a what that they do not know, in paths that they have not known I will guide them. I will turn the darkness before them into light, the rough places into level ground. These are the things I do, and I do not forsake them.”

10  Hebrews 13:5 – “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

These are only ten of the verses in the Bible among thousands of other truths packed into the living word of God. Like true gems, we can hold onto these promises and know with full assurance that the Lord God, Most High, is a promise-keeping God.

Only God is faithful to fulfill His promises. His perfection (being the perfect 10) gives us that assurance. Will you put your trust and rest in anything less?

Advertisements

Heroes And A Thief

People are gathering in streets across the Country in protest; media is ablaze with disgust; and individual citizens are aghast over yet another issue that marks a great gap among our countrymen – an issue that covers political, civil and even moral rights.

The Philippines’ former President Ferdinand E. Marcos has been buried at the National Libingan ng mga Bayani, following the Supreme Court ruling that allowed his family to finally lay his remains in the midst of other National Heroes.  For many years since his death, his remains had been preserved in wax to maintain its physical state, waiting for the right time that it be given it’s proper burial. The time has come to close the lid, so to speak.

The clamor? Marcos loyalists are fighting for his rights to a burial befitting a former country leader, a hero. The opposition, on the other hand, are fighting for the preservation of our country’s moral rights and professing their strong condemnation against the burial of a thief together the country’s brave men and women who fought for what our country is today. Their cry is for the country to look back at the horrific acts the former President and his wife had done, and remember how much damage they’ve done to this Country.

The following is a petition posted on Change.org:

Burying Ferdinand E. Marcos alongside our nation’s heroes who fought for our freedom is an affront to the thousands of lives tortured and murdered during his reign. A hero does not take away freedom, he campaigns for it and fights for its survival for the sake of others. Laying him to rest at the Heroes’ Cemetery is a disdainful act that will send a message to the future of our nation – our children – that the world we live in rewards forceful and violent hands. Several other reasons why Ferdinand E. Marcos should not be buried in the Philippine’s Heroes’ Cemetery: 

  1. According to President Duterte: “The issue on the burial of Ferdinand E. Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani has long created divisions among our people,” – This is not what’s causing the division. It will in fact further sever the opportunity for unity since this is an injustice to the victims of Martial Law and the families they left behind.
  1. It is a known historical fact that Ferdinand E. Marcos proclaimed Martial Law in 1972 which stayed in effect until 1981. Under Martial Law 70,000 people were imprisoned, 34,000 were tortured, and 3,240 were killed. 
  1. The United States Army concluded after World War II that claims by Ferdinand E. Marcos that he had led a guerrilla resistance unit during the Japanese occupation of his country were ”fraudulent” and ”absurd.” Blatant lies of manipulation is not a heroic act.
  1. Only two of 33 war medals were received by Marcos during the 2nd World War. Fabricating stories about war accomplishments for political gain is not heroic.
  1. His gross plunder and mass murder trumps his status as a soldier. Serving one’s country in war does not warrant heroism if they place that same country in ruin. Foreign debt increased from $355 million in 1962 to $28.3 billion in 1986. The peso value to the dollar decreased from 3.90 in 1966 to 20.53 in 1986.

  2.  President Duterte declared: “I will allow the burial of President Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani not because he is a hero. He was a Filipino soldier, period.” –  Not all soldiers were buried in Libingan ng mga Bayani and burying him there will label him a hero whether he was a Philippine soldier or not. “Those who were dishonorably separated, reverted, or discharged from the service, and those who were convicted of an offense involving moral turpitude cannot be buried at the cemetery.” Marcos was ousted from power.

On these grounds alone, he is not qualified. Ferdinand E. Marcos is not a hero.  Only heroes are buried in the Heroes’ Cemetery as the name so literally states. 

So, dear Christian, it’s time to stop and reflect once again: How are we to respond to such issues? Are we to hastily post our comments and emotions on social media? Are we to go out and protest with the rest of the country in the streets? Are we to fan the flames and feed the frenzy of the masses? Let’s see…

Marcos is being accused of murder, theft, fraud and lying – among many other things.

BUT DON’T WE ALL DO THESE THINGS?

“None is righteous, no, not one.”
Romans 3:10

Haven’t we all lied at one point in our lives (and no, there are no such things as white lies)? Haven’t we all stolen things, regardless of its value? Haven’t we all committed murder in our hearts each time we became angry towards others?

The fact remains that we are all guilty of the exact same things we are accusing our former President. The reality remains that we are no better than Mr. Marcos.

Does he truly deserve a hero’s burial? That has already been decided upon by our current leaders. As followers of Christ, it is not our place to join the protests that cry for a change in verdict. It is not our place to make too much of a fuss about burying a lifeless life-sized wax figure. As followers of Christ, we know that It’s the soul that matters in the end. The body, regardless of where it will be buried will just remain in the ground. The soul has gone to where it’s headed.

So if we go along with the rest of the Country, fanning the flames of disgust over a decision made by our rulers, how are we being salt and light to unbelievers?

Our duty and our battle cry in our present day must always be for those who are still living. We must tell them of our sinfulness. We must tell them the consequences of our sins, that one day we, too, will face Divine judgment.  We must tell them of our need for a Savior – God, Himself, who became man to pay the ransom for our sins. We must tell them of the need to repent and surrender our lives to Jesus our Savior.

Every minute counts! Go and share the Gospel while there is still time!

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in[a] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:19-20

 

Unrelinquishable Crown

10934055_646988938760128_2005585365280760974_n

On the evening of December 20, 2015 7/6c, majority of the world’s population watched with anticipation as each country’s respective contestants vied for the crown of Miss Universe. It was a night filled with the usual excitement expected in a beauty pageant– until the last few minutes where the host, Steve Harvey, announced the wrong name as winner. That was the highlight of the evening.

Both real and cyber worlds were abuzz. Interesting comments and opinions were expressed. The whole mix up became the most trending topic to date!

For some, it provided amusement. For others, It evoked pity for Miss Colombia. For Filipinos, pride for their candidate. And then for a great number, judgmental assumptions on what went wrong and accusations toward Steve Harvey’s carelessness.

The world is in a constant battle to claim that sole representation of glory – whether it be the Miss Universe crown, the seat of the Country President, the gold trophy at the Olympics, or the position of CEO in a multinational company – while it brings a promise of fame, power and fortune, it does not last. They all soon enough, deteriorate.

For us Christians, the God’s Word is clear in encouraging us that our aim must not be for the temporal, but for the crowns that God has promised the believers in eternity.

The Bible mentions five of them:

  1. The Crown of Life – to the believer who perseveres under trials.

Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. (James 1:12)

  1. The Soul-Winner’s Crown – to believers who labored to save souls from the fires of hell.

You are our hope, our joy, and the crown  we will take pride in when our Lord Jesus Christ comes.  (1 Thessalonians 2:19)

  1. The Crown of Righteousness – for those who look for and love Christ’s return.

Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.  (2 Timothy 4:8)

  1. The Crown of Glory – for those who faithfully teach and preach God’s Word.

And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive  the crown of glory that does not fade away.  (1 Peter 5:4)

  1. The Incorruptible Crown – for those who “run a good race” in the Christian life.

And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. (1 Corinthians 9:25)

If this won’t encourage us enough to love others and not live for our own glory, nothing will. After all, these crowns are just bonuses for our true Treasure is Jesus Christ, Himself.

The bible further reminds us that the pursuit of temporal glory and gratification is all vanity.

Philippians 2:3 says:

Let nothing be done through strife or vain glory;   but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves.

Psalm 119:37:

Turn away my eyes from looking at vanity, And revive me in Your ways.

Let us all strive to find our True Treasure – one that leads to eternal satisfaction and fellowship with the King of the universe. One that is given to us without mistake. One that cannot be relinquished.

Video reference:  Wrong Winner in Miss Universe 2015

When Healing Is A Choice

14604-woman-walking-sunset-silhouette-wide.1200w.tn

After my first engagement was called off, I moped, cried, stared into space, cried again, and basically did everything anyone with a broken heart would do.  After several weeks of the same routine, a friend told me, “You have to eventually snap out that phase!  You have to make that decision to move on.” Although it took some time, I eventually did make that choice to snap out of it and move on.

As I go through another process of piecing my heart back together, praying fervently to God to heal me and help me learn to forgive, the Lord has been reminding me of the invalid man in  John 5:1-9.    This man who, for thirty-eight years had been living with his illness, did not once ask for help to get into the pool of Bethesda.  And when Jesus asked him if he wanted to get well, his response was more of an excuse rather than an enthusiastic affirmative.

“Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.

-John 5:7

Jennifer Rothschild goes direct to the heart of the matter in saying:

The man at the pool gave an explanation for his situation rather than an answer to Jesus. He blamed others for why he was the way he was.  Instead of just saying “Yes, Lord, I want to be well” he felt the need to say, “But Lord, this is why I am not well.”

We do the same thing.

To be well means I lean on Jesus instead of my old coping mechanisms.

Now, I’m not talking about true diseases like the Retinitis Pigmentosa that caused my blindness. I’m talking about the more serious disease that has nothing to do with blindness — the diseases of self-pity, anger, or resentment that can deeply debilitate me.

Sometimes we actually prefer our pain. We are so used to our weakness, our addiction, or our sin that we don’t really want to be well. We want an excuse to be who we are — stuck in our own weakness — paralyzed by our circumstances.

We sometimes find it difficult to shake off our bitterness, anger, resentment. self-pity and depression, but all we really need to do is make that choice, stand up and head straight to the arms of  Jesus.

Read Jennifer’s entire blog at Jennifer Rothschild – What It Means To Be Well

Overcoming Rejection

Everyone has had their share of rejection at some point in their lives. How do you deal with it?  Some would have the strength to just shrug it off and not bat an eyelash. Others have the resiliency to move on.   And there are others (like me), who would internalize it and let it affect their whole being.

Sad to say, the way we react to rejection says a lot about our past and about our personalities.  But there is hope for us of the third kind!  Rejection – or our tendency to negatively react towards it – can be overcome.

118HHere are three steps:

  1. Realize that Jesus loves you unconditionally.
  2. Love Jesus more than you love anything or anybody.
  3. Love people as Jesus loves you.

Read Kristina Piatachenko’s full article here .

The Security Blanket

images

Linus van Pelt.  He is the best friend of Charlie Brown from the famous comic strip Peanuts. Linus is known to many of us for having a security blanket in tow anywhere and everywhere he goes.

My son has his security “blankie.”  Not one.  Six!   It started with just one – that one precious blanket that he refused to wash or be away from, which I somehow left in a vacation house out of town.  Not expecting to get it back, I got him a new one, and his grandma got him four (yep!).  So when the owners of that vacation house called to say they found my son’s blanket and would send it back, that made a total of six.

Much as I try, I can’t recall ever getting attached to any particular object as a child or even growing up.  What is the mystery behind such attachments?

Experts who have studied such behavior discovered that such “transitional objects” help individuals cope with change while clinging on to something familiar.    In my son’s case, he developed the dependence on the blanket when I started going back to work and he had to stay home.

It does make sense.  But when and how does it end?

While I try to understand my son and give him the space and time he needs, (after all, aren’t we all on the same boat?  At one point in our lives, we found that one thing or person that we latch on to like a barnacle); and while I am trying not to over-spiritualize this concern,  it is also my duty to give him a reality and spirtual check.

For the rest of us, whether we admit it our not, we also have our own  transitional object.  It could be an actual object we’ve been attached to since childhood.  It could be habits we developed.  It could be material possessions.  It could be careers that we’ve so passionately been building and working for all our lives.  It could be that best friend or spouse that occupied most of our hearts.  It could even be ourselves.

Looking at it that way, I did have my own share of “blankies.”

The bible calls it our idols.    An idol is anything or anyone that can satisfy our longings.  It is anything or anyone that consumes our emotions, time, mind, devotion and being.  It is anything or anyone that we run and cling on to make us feel better.  It is anything or anything that is not God.

Such idols need to be removed from our lives only by the grace and mercy of God.  Through prayer and constant feeding of the Word, God will slowly and surely reveal to us the idols in our lives and provide the strength to remove them.

Reference:  The Herald Tribune