Monday, October 29, 2012

Better Things Ahead

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As the world totter in crisis nowadays, we can only hope for better things in the horizon. Everything that goes down and touches bottom has only one direction but up. Have we touched bottom yet? What to do when we still hear news about companies considering filing for bankruptcy and many others experiencing the squeeze as well in their own businesses? Should we be concerned and begin to panic? We can glean from biblical principles to find solace and encouragement in these times of crisis and one of the many popular verses comes from Matthew 6:25-34 as it states: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (NIV)

Read it carefully and one will find specific instruction that deals with the daily concerns of life’s basic needs. It has provided simple but workable solutions to what ails humanity at its core, i.e., worry and fear. Jesus described this kind of attitude as unjustified and unnecessary especially when we reflect carefully on some simple illustrations of care that God has done to other created beings in our planet. We must not lose sight of what God has done in the past and what He will do today and tomorrow as soon as we fill ourselves with unbelief and doubt. The outlook of better things is hindered by our “little faith.” Thus, we see worst things and hopelessness rather than holding on to God’s promises of better things.

One very clear reminder is to stop worrying about tomorrow when today is already chock-full. Here’s something to consider as written by Reynolds Dodson in Reader's Digest, June, 1992 as the rules for crisis management:
1.  Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
2.  Look first, and then act.
3.  When you do act, act aggressively.
4.  Seek help. 
5.  Don't get locked on a detail. 
6.  No matter how bad things get, be truthful. 
7.  Look for the silver lining.

The silver lining can never be found on our own ways and means. When we have exhausted all means possible and still nothing happened that favors our way, then it is time to apply the biblical principle stated above, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” Let it become a proven principle when applied deliberately and consistently in our daily life.

Remember that crises are part of our life and they are here to stay whether we like it or not. However, we have a choice in dealing with them that includes God in the equation or to depend on our own ways and know-how. God guarantees His words and promises with complete success especially when we fully obey His will at all times. Otherwise, we will be left with uncertainties without any guarantees but more anxieties. Being anchored in God’s promises might be the best option at this time of crisis, pandemics, political upheavals and many other related events. Trust God more than anything else in his world and you are in a very good hand. If you remember the Sunday school song that says, “He’s got the whole world in His hands” then everything will always be better ahead.

Let’s talk again!

Monday, October 22, 2012

JRAM Logo and its Story

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Monday, October 15, 2012

The Be-Attitudes

What are the best guiding principles that an individual must adhere to? No matter what people might say, every principle is derived from somewhere or someone. No one could claim that it was their own. Our parents took their parenting principles from their parents and future parents will do so unless they could discover new principles that others are advocating. Every principle becomes a measuring stick to conduct life. Attitudes are molded by it. Thus a person’s integrity is directly connected to their principles. 

No wonder that there are individuals who has high sense of destiny and attitude while others do not. Majority of people have underlying principles that guides them in all their decisions and directions. Therefore, a principled person is generally stable and secure. Where does one get the right principles for living? There are principles in the area of finances, relationships, employment, ideals and so on and so forth. But what kind of principles will be the sure ticket to happiness? Here lies the truth of the matter: every principle must be grounded and anchored properly to avoid falling to pieces when it is tested by circumstances contrary to the principle. The strength of one’s principle is tested when the right time comes and usually, during the worst of times. When pressures of life come down on you, our response must be in accordance with what we consciously follow.

When Jesus spoke about the beatitudes to His hearers, it was such radical principles that are contrary to the prevailing principles of the day. I believe that everyone was in awe of them when Jesus advocated it to be the guiding principles of those that hear them. All of us have heard it one way or another. I know them as the “Be-attitudes.” It surely is controversial to someone when asked to do so. Let me share it to you what Jesus said that day as recorded in Matthew 5: 3-12, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (NIV)

One of the key interesting points of these principles is the aspect of being blessed when applied. Imagine, there is a reward for adopting such attitudes. Simply stated, these are principles direct from heaven brought by Jesus to humanity. Think about this for a moment, keeping and allowing them to be the guiding principles of all our conduct will revolutionize every forms of relationship we have. Whether they are within the sphere of our influence or outside and it will surely benefit us greatly without measure. Actually, Jesus provided humanity with what many are looking for in life.

Come to think of it, Jesus gave us principles that will last for eternity. He himself fulfilled every aspect of it in His own lifetime. Therefore, it could be done as well. The good news about is this: we are not alone when we choose to apply them. Jesus promised that those who follow them shall find blessing and the status of being blessed. But one must let Jesus assist you in this endeavor. We cannot do it on our own for sure. Therefore, we need Jesus to guide us through and through. A relationship with Him, the author of these principle and attitudes is a must. Well, you could try it but you will find that it is very hard to be one. I know, I tried them but did not work. 

One clear example is in the area of forgiveness. Releasing forgiveness is one of the obstacles that many are trying to overcome. When you are not able to forgive, then you cannot truly forgive. Jesus showed us how to do it when He was on the cross, he uttered forgiveness when He said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” He was still on the cross yet he released forgiveness to those that crucified Him. That’s why Jesus is qualified to come into our lives and to help us extend forgiveness to those that have wronged us.

Remember that when you ran out of forgiveness to give, just asks God for a measure of forgiveness to be release to those who have wronged you. And God who is rich in forgiveness will give it to those who ask in faith through His Son Jesus. C’mon, give it a shot. What have you got lose? O yeah, an unforgiving heart. Why not?

Let’s talk again!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Reposted: Thanksgiving with a Grateful Heart

How important it is to develop a sense of gratitude in one’s life? In his book Folk Psalms of Faith, Ray Stedman tells of an experience H.A. Ironside had in a crowded restaurant. Just as Ironside was about to begin his meal, a man approached and asked if he could join him. Ironside invited him to have a seat. Then, as was his custom, Ironside bowed his head in prayer. When he opened his eyes, the other man asked, "Do you have a headache?" Ironside replied, "No, I don't." The other man asked, "Well, is there something wrong with your food?" Ironside replied, "No, I was simply thanking God as I always do before I eat."  The man said, "Oh, you're one of those, are you? Well, I want you to know I never give thanks. I earn my money by the sweat of my brow and I don't have to give thanks to anybody when I eat. I just start right in!"  Ironside said, "Yes, you're just like my dog. That's what he does too!"

Cicero, a Roman philosopher stated, “Gratitude is not only the greatest of the virtues but the parent of all others.” Moreover, the book of Ephesians provided us a significant viewpoint to whom should we ascribe all gratitude and thanksgiving, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” (1:3). The Apostle Paul described in detail the principal role of God in blessing His people with all kinds of blessing from Heaven. What we enjoy today in our lives was made before man was created. God in His infinite wisdom provided what we need to exist with ease and security. It was only spoiled when sin entered the world of humanity. Thus, the call to every believer to express gratitude to God is a must and the most important focus of our gratitude is God the Father as the major source of every unimaginable heavenly blessing including His only Son Jesus with the guidance of the Holy Spirit in us. William Faulkner, a Nobel Prize-winning American novelist and short story writer stated, “Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all.” 

To be grateful is an exertion of the will from the perspective of being a recipient of all good gifts and numerous blessings towards the giver. Looking closely, it is an attitude of the heart spoken with a deep sense of acknowledgement to what was received with a sense of deep humility. And this my friends is a true picture of what an honorable person looks like; the one that knows where he/she stands in uttering gratitude even in the most odd situation. Here is a classic illustration this outlook: Scottish minister Alexander Whyte was known for his uplifting prayers in the pulpit. He always found something for which to be grateful. One Sunday morning the weather was so gloomy that one church member thought to himself, "Certainly the preacher won't think of anything for which to thank the Lord on a wretched day like this." Much to his surprise, however, Whyte began by praying, "We thank Thee, O God, that it is not always like this." (Daily Bread, August 26, 1989)

This day, we enjoin the nation of Canada in celebration of Thanksgiving Day. Having such an occasion provides all Canadian citizens and its immigrants a great opportunity to extol the virtues of God’s blessing of the harvest. Thus, in this event, God is the focus being the source of such abundant blessing. In this occasion, one can clearly observe the main reason that made this country great. When God is honored, as everyone should do, I believe that He will respond with the same honor as He was given. As long as we will not lose sight of this simple fact and the basis of celebrating Thanksgiving Day, it will always become a national event that will raise one voice to honor God in recognition of His mighty blessings towards a grateful people. God never forget to remember those that give thanks to His blessings and He would even pour out more. It is His promise so let us continue to do so.

Let’s talk again!

Monday, October 1, 2012


"God, why did you do that to me? Why did you take the one I most love? Why did you permit such illness to conquer my life? Why am I sterile while others have children? Why? Why?" These are few of the many questions that many people are struggling to find answers with.

Yet we cannot ask God for answers to these questions without recognizing His purpose and the lack of answers will only frustrate us in the process. It is like looking into a one-way window seeing your own reflection only. The fact remains that we do not know what is happening at the other side. This is the dilemma that many of us go through because we cannot see clearly what is really going on. The lack of answers forces people to become bitter instead of being better. Many end up plainly giving up not wanting to wait for the answer.

Author and Minister Terry Cole Whitaker told the following story from Dan Millman, which demonstrates that we cannot judge things as being good or bad because we do not have access to all the information: 
“One day a man bought a stallion, and all of his friends said, “That’s good.” The next day the stallion ran away, and all of his friends said, “That’s bad.” Two weeks later the stallion returned with a herd of mares. His friends said, “That’s good.” The next day his son broke his shoulders when the stallion threw him off. The friends said, “That’s bad.” The next month war broke out. Because the boy was injured, he could not go to war. The friends said, “That’s good.”

The story could go on and on with people judging events as being good or bad when actually all the events are connected and have an impact on each other. Paul summarized this truth briefly in Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (NIV)

We need to know that the “all things” that the Apostle Paul spoke of includes both good and bad. Therefore, we cannot characterize something as good or bad using its effect on us personally. The measurement should be the effect on us as a whole after it has totally accomplished its purpose; aim to be objective when looking at every situation and always be cautious before judging it.

Looking at it closely, we might be mistaken to think bad things might be bad while at the end they may be good. Sounds confusing? The most popular and familiar bible character is Job. Job used God to challenge Satan with Job’s godly character. Satan responded with his own way of testing Job to shame God. Job experienced loss one after another yet he remained faithful. He was not aware until the end where God doubled everything he lost after he passed the multiple testing. Next is Joseph. And if there is someone who experiences this concept working the other way around is Joseph. Read the summary of all the things that have happened to him in Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (NIV)

So you see, never misjudge any circumstances occurring in your life right now as good or bad until the right time. Everything has their proper time of revelation to determine its benefit or harm. The whole purpose of Jesus’ first coming is to fulfill the will of God. He came to suffer for humanity and in doing so, gave us an opportunity to receive peace, healing, deliverance, salvation, forgiveness of sins and most important of all, access to heaven through Him alone.  Thus, I would urge you to begin looking at every situation and evaluate their value in your life. I believe they all serve a purpose and let us choose to submit them under God’s purpose. You’ll see, you will never be the same again having this mindset. 

Let’s talk again!