Persecution

I always equate this word with the experience of the early Christians. They suffered and they sacrificed their lives for their faith in God.

Several centuries have passed and so many teachings have been preached in the pulpits. We understand that someone’s faith in a Divine God deserves respect, at least some respect.

I was really disturbed, in silence, when someone persecuted me because of my faith in God. I was taken by surprise and I was not able to react or respond. I just smiled and said to myself, “Is that persecution in the 21st century?”

True, there is still persecution everywhere; in different forms and degrees. And yes, like me, there are still those who feel bad and hurt when they are maligned, mocked upon, laughed at, belittled, or demeaned because of their faith, their love, their belief in God.

Everyone is free. Everyone can do whatever he wants but not at the expense of another. The latter is persecution when it relates to one’s faith or oppression when it relates to one’s right to being.

Jesus said, “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Mattthew 5:11

Advertisement

Persistence

The road ahead is not always as we expect it to be. There are humps, bumps, detours, or even closures.

If we are not prepared for the journey, at the sight of inconvenience and discomfort, we may easily just give up.

Trying some more after a fall requires a lot of courage, stamina, energy, and self determination.

We look for clues. We look for hands outreached to where we have fallen. We cry for help.

But nothing is around us. More often, people would drift far from a fallen man. History has taught us that, too.

But all is not in vain. All is not dead. There is this certain light. This one draws near where we have fallen. This one gives the light in the dark. This one is hope.

Hope teaches us to persist in the journey. Hope warms our hearts and tells us to persist in our faith. Hope awakens us to persist in our dreams. Hope lifts us up from the pit and brings Persistence to show us a new beginning.

There is Hope. She comes with Persistence.

Missing The Point

The first miracle of Jesus was at the Wedding feast in Cana. There was shortage of wine and Mary, the Mother of Jesus knew what was happening. So, she told this to Jesus. But Jesus replied to Mary saying that it was not yet His time to reveal Himself.

But the soft spot of The Son did it all. Jesus performed His first miracle when He changed the water into the best wine.

The best wine was served last. So the father of the bride was amazed that the groom strategically disturbed a custom of serving wine – the best was the last.

The groom was not aware of the miracle. Yet, instead of asking the servants, he went along with the story that benefited his position.

Pride set in and the groom wallowed into it. Had he been humble enough to check, he would have known the truth and he would have met Jesus. The groom missed his great chance to encounter Jesus and to thank Jesus personally.

Sometimes we are also like this bridegroom. We claim the credit and honour that fittingly belongs to someone else. Worse, we miss to be grateful to someone for the things done.

But like Jesus, we can just fade away into an unassuming crowd. Like Jesus, we do not feel aggrieved for the ungrateful hearts. We humbly work on our confidence in God’s plan. We move on. We continue with our journey knowing fully well that in the greater scheme of things, there is God who sees it all.

Reference: John 2:1-12

The Poor

Many eyes have seen the poor. Some look at the poor with disdain. Some with pity. Some with pride that they are not part of The Poor.

But Someone looks at The Poor with compassion. The good Samaritan looked at The Poor with empathy.

Who are The Poor? Is it just those without food on their tables? Is it just those without a warm bed to lay their heads at night? Is it just the weathered man on the pavement? Is it just the beggar in a busy street?

Or does The Poor encompass all of us who are still scouring this Earth in search for meaning? Or does The Poor include all of us who are at the mercy of the sun and the rain, the plants, the animals, and the air that we breathe?

Who is The Poor?

I love the motto, “Let no one be left behind.” Yes, may no man be left behind in man’s quest for meaning and purpose. May each man actively pursue “heaven while on earth.” (St. Therese of Lisieux).

I am poor. I belong to The Poor. But I enthusiastically explore my inner capabilities to be part of the greater scheme of things in my simple ways.

I am a dot and a dust. But I believe I have a purpose. I may be poor but I may still enrich others who are poor like me.

I believe, therefore, I will.

The Creation

Genesis 1:1-2:3

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning —the first day.

And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning —the second day.

And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.
Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds. ” And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning —the third day.

And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning —the fourth day.

And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.” So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” And there was evening, and there was morning —the fifth day.

And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.

Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground. ”

Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food. ” And it was so.

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning —the sixth day.

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array.
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.

Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

On a Vacay Mode

A rich man went for a vacation in a remote town.

His first stop was a sari-sari store, the only one that he saw around.

“Excuse me,” said the rich man. “Is there any good restaurant out here where I can eat?”

The lady of the store gently smiled at the rich man saying, “Good morning, Sir! It is so nice of you to viait our place. Welcome!”

The rich man was not pleased. He expected a straight answer . “This lady is wasting my time,” he thought.

“Did you hear me?” The rich man asked again the same question. “Is there any good restaurant out here where I can eat?”

The gentle lady said, “Oh, I’m sorry, I just wanted to welcome you first. Yes, there is a restaurant here that can serve you a simple but warm meal. What would you like to have?” The gentle lady smiled beautifully to ease the rich man’s stress.

“Where is the restaurant?” This time the rich man’s voice was higher as he became irritated.

The gentle lady answered, “You are in the right place, Sir. I will cook for you whatever you please. I am the only cook in this place.” The gentle lady spoke softer and very apologetic as she felt the discomfort of the rich man.

“What? This? How can I eat here?” He looked around and he sized up the gentle lady from head to toe.

Unsatisfied with what he saw, he started to leave. He got back in his car and sped off the dusty road.

The gentle lady just smiled and prayed, “Dear God, another lost soul came by. Please guide that soul, Holy Spirit of God.”

The gentle lady continued with her daily chores, humming that familiar tune which connects her to God.

Little Children

Trusting, Appreciating, Loving fun, Enjoying

Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3

Trust among children is not as difficult to earn than trust among adults. The issue perhaps lie in the experiences adults may have through time.

Children are easy to appreciate others. Adults may have uncertainties and boundaries.

Children love fun and they freely express their joys. Adults may be more reserved and conservative.

But Jesus wants us to be like little children when we approach him, when we respond to his invitation, when we follow him.

We re-learn to trust, to appreciate, to be fun-loving, and to enjoy life; while we can.

The Air I Breathe

You are the fast wind that slowly lingers in my ears.

You are the cool breeze that warms my heart and soul.

You are the painter that colors my rainbow after every storm.

You are the sculptor that chisels God’s marvel in every rock.

You are the air that I breathe; I need you.

Please come in moments; I love you.

He Speaks

When Jesus was preaching, He quoted verses in the Old Testament to affirm God’s Will.

When Jesus was praying, He talked to God from His Heart about His situation, pleading His cause, and affirming God’s Will.

So when we walk with Jesus, in Jesus, and like Jesus –

1. We preach by quoting the Words of Jesus because He came to fulfill the Will of God.

2. We prepare for our encounter with Jesus just like how Jesus prepared Himself in the desert with the Holy Spirit, by

a) Asking the Holy Spirit of God to cleanse our hearts, mind, and soul and thus create a renewed person with a passionate heart, an open mind, a listening soul.

b) Allowing the Holy Spirit to clothe us with the Jesus’ character of Humility, Obedience, Perseverance, and Enthusiasm.

c) Acknowledging the promptings of the Holy Spirit to remind us of Jesus’ teachings thereby setting the mode for our moments with Jesus.

3. We pray and converse with Jesus by knowing how He feels, what He wants us to do, and where He wants us to be.
a) It is Jesus’ mentoring time.
b) It is Jesus’ affirmation time.
c) It is Jesus’ recognition time.

It is all about Jesus and never about us.