Monday, September 24, 2012


"Looking Ahead but Not Too Far"
No copyright infringement intended

George Barna, author of the book, “How to Find Your Church” wrote, 
“Vision is the ability to understand the history, the present condition, and the potential of the church, and to conceive a plan for action that will maximize the ministry potential. More often than not, vision is a result of having spent much time absorbing the facts about the community, knowing the resources upon which the church can call (people, funding, facilities, equipment, etc.), and devising sound but creative strategies for moving forward. Vision always entails progress: it is never satisfied with the status quo.” 

Here’s what is applicable to all of us: Vision always entails progress: it is never satisfied with the status quo.” When a person begins to stop looking ahead and becomes satisfied with the status quo, stagnancy will set in as anticipated. If no one looked ahead, we may not have in our time many things invented and if no one looked ahead to try to do what seems unattainable, nothing could have been achieved, e.g., the momentous travel to the moon, dawn of the computer technology and many others. The straightforward fact is this: there were many dreamers that saw what seems impossible and achieved their dreams in the face of the status quo. In what they have pursued to do, we were direct beneficiaries of all that they have attained. They were men and women who contributed to change the world we lived in, whether in the political, business, technological, medical and many other areas. They steadfastly looked forward for a better tomorrow. And presently, many are still pursuing dreams and looking ahead. Are you one of them?

What’s the main reason why many have stopped in doing so? The simple reason being that they’ve thought that their own potential is maximized and there’s nothing more to do. Sadly, it is a cynical attitude that causes many to stay put instead of looking ahead. Disappointingly, others were doing the opposite: looking at the past glories achieved as their template to apply in their present situation. On the contrary, looking ahead is about hopefulness in the future especially when God is involved, “…nothing is impossible to those who believe” (Matthew 17:20).

Here’s a scriptural verse to chew over, “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Ponder the path of your feet; then all your ways will be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil” (Proverbs 4:25-27 ESV)). Allow me to share a poem I came across to illustrate this scriptural truth entitled, “Don’t Look Back:” 

As you travel through life there are always those times

when decisions just have to be made, 

when the choices are hard and solutions seem scarce 

and the rain seems to soak your parade! 

There are some situations where all you can do

is to simply let go and move on, 

gather courage together and choose a direction

that carries you toward a new dawn. 

So pack up your troubles and take a step forward.

The process of change can be tough.

But think about all the excitement ahead,

if you can be stalwart enough! 

There could be adventures you never imagined

just waiting around the next bend

and wishes and dreams just about to come true

in ways you can’t yet comprehend! 

Perhaps you’ll find friendships that spring from new interests,

as you challenge your status quo

and learn there are so many options in life, 

and so many ways you can grow! 

Perhaps you’ll go places you never expected 

and see things that you’ve never seen, 

or travel to fabulous, faraway worlds

and wonderful spots in between! 

Perhaps you’ll find warmth, affection and caring, 

a "somebody special" who’s there

to help you stay centered
and listen with interest 
to stories and feelings you share. 

Perhaps you’ll find comfort in knowing your friends 

are supportive of all that you do 

and believe that whatever decisions you make, 

they’ll be the right choices for you! 

So keep putting one foot in front of the other 

and taking your life day by day.

There’s a brighter tomorrow that’s just down the road.

Don’t look back; you’re not going that way! 

- Author Unknown

Let’s talk again!

Monday, September 17, 2012


People can be indecisive depending on any given circumstance. Oftentimes, it can be confusing as to what they really want in the first place. In any case, one must always be ready for any eventualities of unexpected occurrences. Just like this story I came across, choices are made depending on the context presented at the moment: “ A young psychology student serving in the Army decided to test a theory. Drawing kitchen duty, he was given the job of passing out apricots at the end of the chow line. He asked the first few soldiers that came by, "You don't want any apricots, do you?" Ninety percent said "No." Then he tried the positive approach: "You do want apricots, don't you?" About half answered, "Uh, yeah. I'll take some." Then he tried a third test, based on the fundamental either/or selling technique. This time he asked, "One dish of apricots or two?" And in spite of the fact that soldiers don't like Army apricots, 40 percent took two dishes and 50 percent took one!”[1]

While apricots were obviously part of the menu, the questions conveyed was unexpected that yielded different replies. However, this simple test proved that people could be persuaded without much thought. It is sad yet proven true! How can we avoid such unpleasant incident to come?

Given that we are faced with many conflicting choices in any aspect of life, become aware of what is happening around you and know where you stand on any given issue. Unfortunately, it seems that the weighing scale we use to make towards a crucial decision can be tipped either way depending on the prevailing opinion or personal feelings. One thing must be certain, i.e., to be ready for anything that will impact us whether expected or unexpected. Keeping our eyes, heart and mind aligned to what we know to be “…true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (Philippians 4:8). Never lose sight of these things in all our decisions purposely, for they are what matters the most at the end of the day even at the worst unexpected times.

The most important thing to consider above all else is to become fully attentive that there will be unexpected episodes in our life that may come and go. But what should be remembered is the fact that we need to be always anticipating it. Somebody said, “Expect the unexpected and prepare for the worst.” But I would choose to say, “Expect the best out of every unexpected situation and prepare for greater things ahead.” Especially true, if you know that your life is in the hands of God, nothing should ever surprise us and if we fully trust in Him, we will never worry whatever may come.

The fact of the matter is this: I need to “Be still and know that He is God” (Psalms 46:10) at all times. I must not swerve to the left or to the right about what God is doing in my life today and tomorrow. My full confidence is in Him and no matter what unexpected things that may come across, this I know that He can always turn it around for my good and for His glory alone. I firmly believe this and I will declare it continually all the days of my life.

Finally, allow me to say that our journey with God will bring us both expected and unexpected things in order to fulfill His plans and purposes in our life and to others that we come in contact with. But no matter what the situation might be, whether it is expected or unexpected, we can always stand on God’s promise, “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). This is a promise that can stand the test of time and that any unexpected events that will turn up will have to pass through this promise yielding only God’s expected favor and blessings to those who believe.

Let’s talk again!

[1] Bits & Pieces, May 26, 1994, pp. 9-10.

Monday, September 10, 2012


I remember a tag line advertisement of Chevrolet long time ago, “tried, tested and true” referring to their line of cars and trucks. I reflected on it trying to relate as to what God’s plan is about and behold I got stuck with it as tag line for my own Christian journey. It became especially relevant as it referred to what God has been doing in my life. Looking back up to this time, God’s plan and purpose in my life can best be described as “tried, tested and true.” I truly hope that you can apply the same tag line in your life also.

The prophet Jeremiah provided us an important message that God gave him in Jeremiah 6:16, “Thus says the LORD: "Stand by the roads, AND look, AND ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; AND walk in it, AND find rest for your souls. BUT they said, 'We will not walk in it.” Here’s God’s specific instruction on how we can be sure that God’s involvement in our life can be “tried, tested and true” especially when we strictly follow what He said for us to do. Actually, the prophet Jeremiah provided us an image of a man in a crossroad: “A traveler is going to a particular city; he comes to a place where the road divides into several paths, he is afraid of going astray; he stops short, - endeavors to find out the right path: he cannot fix his choice. At last he sees another traveler; he inquires of him, gets proper directions - proceeds on his journey - arrives at the desired place - and reposes after his fatigue.” [1]

In order to understand what “crossroad” meant, here’s some definition I found from to enlighten us: a) the place where roads intersect; b) A point at which a vital decision must be made; c) A main center of activity. I believe that the second definition illustrates clearly what we need to embark upon in this discussion. We need to see clearly and to see beyond the horizon where God’s future is waiting for us to take. But sadly, this is where many fail to step forward and instead get trapped. Many have missed the opportunity to seize the moment and became content with the “status quo.” Always remember that God will always provide us the right direction and the right people we need if we will allow Him to do so.

Here’s an illustration that I came across from Robert Richiardelli: “In the movie the Matrix, Neo had a choice to take a red pill or a blue pill. Choosing the red pill signifies that you have chosen to be exposed to unfolding truths of the universe regardless of the pain and suffering that comes in the pursuit of it. The blue pill represents life and truth as it is currently perceived, and living comfortably deceived. You do not face many challenges by taking the blue pill, but in the end, you live partial existence, to truth, with little ability to affect change. The enemies of God always wants us to take the blue pill, which numbs our senses and keeps us bound from hearing or living abundantly in the truths of the Divine. So as Kingdom dwellers, we must choose the red pill of God's unfolding mysteries.”

The truth of the matter is this: Whatever the situation you are in front of, we are always faced with an unavoidable decision to make; whether it is a major or minor decision, one way or another, there is always an effect favorable to us or unfavorable to others or vice versa. Honestly, it is part of our daily grind and not many people would like to be positioned in anything that will have a direct effect on people’s lives. Unfortunately, it is inevitable to do so. No one can escape the “crossroad” effects. Anthony Robbins, a motivational speaker provided a summary of what it meant to be at a crossroad, “You are now at a crossroads. This is your opportunity to make the most important decision you will ever make. Forget your past. Who are you now? Who have you decided you really are now? Don't think about who you have been. Who are you now? Who have you decided to become? Make this decision consciously. Make it carefully. Make it powerfully.”

Here’s the bottom line: Every crossroad we face is an opportunity to see what God is preparing ahead of us IF we will choose to allow Him access in our lives whenever crossroads of life occurs.

Let’s talk again!

[1] Clarke Commentary

Monday, September 3, 2012


If you will make an inventory of what you own in your life, what would the list include? What would be the majority of items listed there that would last for eternity? 
Leo Tolstoy once wrote a story about a successful peasant farmer who was not satisfied with his lot. He wanted more of everything. One day he received a novel offer. For 1000 rubles, he could buy all the land he could walk around in a day. The only catch in the deal was that he had to be back at his starting point by sundown. Early the next morning he started out walking at a fast pace. By midday he was very tired, but he kept going, covering more and more ground. Well into the afternoon he realized that his greed had taken him far from the starting point. He quickened his pace and as the sun began to sink low in the sky, he began to run, knowing that if he did not make it back by sundown the opportunity to become an even bigger landholder would be lost. As the sun began to sink below the horizon he came within sight of the finish line. Gasping for breath, his heart pounding, he called upon every bit of strength left in his body and staggered across the line just before the sun disappeared. He immediately collapsed, blood streaming from his mouth. In a few minutes he was dead. Afterwards, his servants dug a grave. It was not much over six feet long and three feet wide. The title of Tolstoy's story was: How Much Land Does a Man Need? [1]

This is a story that illustrates exactly what the Scripture stated in Ecclesiastes 5:15 “Naked a man comes from his mother's womb, and as he comes, so he departs. He takes nothing from his labor that he can carry in his hand.” (NIV) What a great truth to think about the brevity of life. This is the reality of life that we are confronted with whether we believe it or not. It does not change the fact just because we have a different opinion about it. That’s why, we need to make a decision about what matters the most in our existence now and eternity.  In other words, we don’t own anything in this world and Job spoke of it clearly when he lost everything precious in his life in one day, “and said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised."(Job 1:21, NIV)

What should be our attitude to what we claim as our own? The right attitude must be to recognize that God is the ultimate Source of it all. However huge the savings in the bank and the size of the house, these are only means to an end but not the end itself. They only provide us an evidence of God’s blessing as we are given a lease on life by the real Owner. Having such an understanding will provide us freedom from being insecure of what we have and do not have. The real security lies deeply in fully adhering to God’s ownership of everything we have and we are just but mere stewards. We are assigned managers of what we claim our own.

Also, to argue that we have gained and acquired all of it through our own toil and labor is kicking against the pricks. It is still part of the whole package of God’s gift of life. Therefore, it would be a good practice to recognize daily that our life is a gift from God. And if you want to own the most precious asset in life, I would suggest securing one’s eternal future. God gave His Son to die on the cross for our sins to provide us a Saviour we could claim our own. C’mon, secure our life with Him and His offer of eternal life and it will be the most important treasure you will gain today until eternity. Though we may lose everything in this world but remember that Jesus remains the same yesterday, today and forever!

Let’s talk again!

[1] Bits and Pieces, November, 1991