GOD’S PLANS IN YOU

Many people look outside themselves to know God’s will for their life. While this is highly recommended, doing so should not be at the expense of looking within. You see, God’s will is often built-in to how He made you. By the way God designed you, you will have an idea as to his plans for your life.

By its design, a bird knows it is not meant to crawl.
By its design, a snake knows it is not meant to swim.
By its design, an elephant knows it is not meant to fly (unless it is Dumbo!).

Know yourself and you will have some idea of your purpose in life.

Early in my life, I already had a clue that I was meant to communicate.

I loved public speaking. I joined declamation contests and even made my own elocution pieces.

I also wrote my own comic books and novels which were all for my personal consumption. Computers were inaccessible then so most of my “books and novels” were all written by hand.

But I was also raised in a family of lawyers. The law runs through my blood and I took fancy of court litigations and politicians.

So today, that’s what I am: a lawyer, an author and a preacher.

Combining my love for communication and the law, I also teach legal ethics through the spoken and written word.

I have not yet fully exhausted God’s plans for me as a lawyer, author and preacher. But I am just all too glad to enjoy the ride.

Before you can know what you are meant to do, self-knowledge is key. Understanding and appreciating how God made you will lead you to where God wants you to be.

In Jeremiah 29:11, it says: For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm, plans to give you hope and a future.

Today, first things first.

List down your wonderful qualities. What talents do you have? What wonderful character traits do you possess? What are you passionate about? What experiences in life, both good and bad, can you use to be a blessing to others?

Acknowledge your weaknesses. Don’t be afraid of them. They are not your masters. You are. Resolve to be more aware of them and guard yourself against them.

Ask godly people you know to validate what you think of yourself. Be vulnerable. Be humble. Be accountable.

Finally, check what scriptures say about you. You are fearfully and wonderfully made (See Psalm 139:14). You are God’s child. (See Galatians 3:26) You are so much loved. (See Jeremiah 31:3)

Get to know the beautiful person that God made in you. As you do, be ready to see the unfolding of God’s equally beautiful plans for you!

Excited for you, my friend!

 

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PERSON OF PRAISE

PERSON OF PRAISE

Do you really want to please God? Let me share with you one sure-fire way:

Praise Him.

In all circumstances, praise Him. Praise Him not after you survive a difficulty but in the midst of it. Praise Him not when battle has been won but even when the battle is still fierce. Praise Him even when the past is regretful, the present unsatisfying, and the future uncertain. Praise Him, not tomorrow, but today. Not when your situation is better but even when it is at its worst. Praise with your words and with your life.

Bear this in mind: To praise God is to please Him.

And when we please God, He brings victory into our lives.

The Bible says:

“For the LORD takes pleasure in his people; he adorns the humble with victory.” (Psalm 149:4)

We are so used to thanking people after they have done us good. It is a different thing with God. We thank Him even before He brings victory into our lives.

He might answer us in a way different from our expectation. But if we praise Him in all circumstances, He will surely grant us victory in the way that is perfect for us.

This week, decide to be a person of praise. And before you know it, you will also be known as a person of victory!

CHRISTIANS ARE FOOLS!

Holy Week is a week of ironies.This week, we saw a master wash his disciples’ feet.
We call the Friday when God was crucified as “good”.
We take the symbol of the most shameful and gruesome death and turn it into a symbol of unsurpassed triumph and life.

And now this — we rejoice on emptiness.

We don’t usually rejoice with emptiness.

We don’t take delight with an empty fridge.
Or an empty stomach.
Or an empty bank account.
Or the empty closet of your spouse.

Yet today, we give our loudest cheer because of an empty tomb.

For us Christians, the empty tomb gives us all the reasons to rejoice.

The emptiness of the tomb fills our lives with joy.
The emptiness of the tomb fills our hearts with hope.
The emptiness of the tomb fills our spirits with life.

From behind the stone that was rolled, the emptiness exclaims so loudly a million reasons to celebrate.

Your pain has purpose.
Your sin is erased.
Your past is forgiven.
Your future is secured.
Your life has meaning.
Your death is temporary.
Your hope is not in vain.

And yes, one last irony: today, Easter Sunday happens to be April Fools’ Day too.

And why not?

Wasn’t He who rose from the tomb this day the greatest fool who ever lived?

For who in his right mind would die for someone like me?
For who in his right mind would suffer for a wretch like me?
For who in his right mind would stand in my place at Calvary?

So today, I rejoice in emptiness. Others will not understand. Others will wonder. Others will shake their heads in disbelief.

I won’t be surprised if they think I’m crazy.

And perhaps, I am. Perhaps we are.

So fools, stand up, be counted and rejoice!

This is proudly our day!

YOUR POST-CREDIT SCENE IS GLORIOUS!

When we watch a marvel movie, my kids would often insist that we stay for the post-credit scene which takes place…well…after the credits. (Obviously!) Long after other people have left, we would be there glued to our seats waiting for the avengers to suit up again one last time before we pack for home.Satan never stayed for the post-credit scene on that first Good Friday.

When Jesus breathed his last on the cross, Satan went celebrating with his minions. He didn’t get to watch the post-credit scene. He thought the last scene was a cross on a hill. He didn’t get to watch that scene where the boulder was rolled from the entrance of the tomb. Had he stayed behind, he would have realized that his merriment was embarrassingly premature.

That is the story of Satan’s life vis a vis every believer of the Lord.

No matter what he throws at us, if we hold on to Jesus to the end, we will still emerge victorious.

Death will not have the final say. Life will!
Sin will not have the closing encore. Holiness will!
Fear will not have the ultimate blow. Faith will!
Hate will not have the last word. Love will!

All Jesus asks of us is to hold on. No matter what “Good Fridays” you may be going through. Never let go. Never give up. Never throw in the towel. Keep loving. Keep serving. Keep believing.

Because for those who hang on, the post-credit scene of your life will not be a lifeless hill under a gloomy sky but rather, an empty tomb bathed in glorious light!

 

IN ONE INSTANT

I was writing a rather lengthy reflection of the Gospel today when one of my children accidentally pulled the plug of my computer which left the screen blank. In one instant, everything I worked for closed to an hour was gone.

Then it dawned on me: Isn’t that what I often do to God?

When I sin.
When I indulge.
When I fail to love.

In one instant, I undermine everything He has done for me on that first Good Friday.

Today, I pray, may we truly value what Jesus did for us on the road to Calvary by living a life worthy of His sacrifice.

He deserves nothing less.

WHY?

Over the past month, I have witnessed the sickness and death of so many good people I know. I stood before coffins with a myriad of questions swirling around my mind. I comforted those left behind with my tears or with my hug, but never with my words because I had none to give.As a preacher, I am expected to know what to say during times like those. A comforting word, perhaps, that would make things easier to bear. I dramatic, philosophical, and theological insight maybe that would somehow lessen the pain.

But no, to my shame, I am often tongue-tied in moments like those.

I simply do not know what to say. There are moments when death requires no explanation but simply an exhortation to keep believing.

Indeed, sometimes, God does things that are devoid of any rational explanation. Sometimes, he does things with us that often may not make sense…at least from a purely human perspective.

WHY did you get sick?
WHY did the marriage of your parents fail?
WHY did your spouse have to leave?
WHY do the bad prosper?
WHY do the good die young?

WHY? WHY? WHY?

Questions.

We have questions in life that are often left unanswered. We stare at a blank wall. We incline our ear to silence. We beckon to a hallowed space.

Nothing.

No reasons. No logic. No meaning.

It is in these moments when we question the good in our God.

Is He really, in the first place?

I’m sure you have your own litany of queries that are unrequited. You sigh and shake your head. You wonder, really, if somewhere out there, a big, all-good, and all-knowing being truly exists as they say.

Let me assure you today, my friend — there is.

As sure as the sun rose this morning and as certain as its setting late this afternoon, there is a good God who loves you beyond your imagination. You just need to keep believing.

Today, Holy Thursday, take inspiration from the experience of a bunch of men who were likewise baffled by what their master intended to do. It wasn’t customary for the master to be doing what Jesus was about to do. It didn’t make sense for the master to be washing the feet of his disciples. Peter protested. Jesus insisted.

“Jesus said, ‘You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.’…” (John 13:17)

For those among us who are confused, I believe Jesus hurls those same words at us.

In a similar way, God exhorts us today that someday, somehow, explanations will come. Things will make sense.

Questions will be answered.

Perhaps not completely in this lifetime. But surely in the next.

So grieve, yes. Struggle, by all means. Shed tears, if necessary.

But hold on. Keep believing. Trust.

Remember, eventually Peter understood why Jesus did what he did. Peter later on found out that his feet were washed that day by the Carpenter from Nazareth not only because Jesus was after hygiene.

Years later, hanging on an upside down cross in the outskirts of Rome, Peter smiled.

For then, He already knew WHY.

GOD CAN LEAD YOU TO THE DESERT

Jesus didn’t go to the desert.No, he didn’t wake up one day, took his planner and said, “Hmmm, what should I do today? Oh yeah. Maybe a field trip to the desert would be great.”

If you read scriptures, you would realize that he was actually “driven”, “ushered”, “led” to go there by the Holy Spirit.

“And at once the Spirit drove him into the desert” (Mark 1:12)

Why would God bring His Son to the desert? The answer is simple: Because it was necessary.

It was necessary for him to feel weak so he can find his strength in God the Father alone.
It was necessary for him to feel hungry so he will realize that the Father is all He needs.
It was necessary for him to feel vulnerable so he will trust in the Father alone.
It was necessary for him to be tempted with power and glory so that he can find power only in His weakness and find glory only in doing His father’s will.

Sometimes, God does the same thing with us. He leads us to the “desert”.

Where in our weakness, we can find strength in Him alone.
Where in our vulnerability, we can receive his protection.
Where in our nothingness, He can be our all!

After forty days in the desert, Jesus came out stronger and more ready to do the mission entrusted to Him.

God might be doing the same thing with you!