The Beautiful Life

“…otherwise they would be converted and pardoned…” (Mark 4:12)

There was this story about a carnapping incident in the US. After discovering that her car was stolen, the women reported the incident to the police. She told them that they should get to the thief before he decides to eat a piece of cake she left on the front seat of the car. According to her, that cake contains rat poison.

And so the police went on to search for the thief. He, on his part, kept avoiding the police thinking they were after him in order to punish him. He didn’t know that they were actually going after him in order to save his life.

In the same way, that is most likely the reason why many choose to run away from God.

People think that God is going after them in order to punish them for their sins.  They refuse to attend mass. They hide from their priest or pastor. They avoid that person who constantly invites them to that bible study. As if God was a plague that needs to be avoided at all cost.

Perhaps it’s because of the wrong notion that God demands too much.

Or that God will make you sacrifice that which is important to you.

Or that life will be more difficult if you take your faith seriously.

Unfortunately, many of us are victims of these wrong notions.

Of course, the fear isn’t compeletly baseless. Yes, God will demand nothing less than the best from you. God might ask you to give up things for Him, especially those which take you away from Him. And Christian life, as we all know, is definitely not a bed of roses.

But you know what, life with God is beautiful. And it is this beautiful life that God is offering to us. That is why he pursues us. Not to punish us. But to bless us. 

I believe that many people do not know this truth, “…otherwise they would be converted and pardoned…” (Mark 4:12).

Today, I invite you to check your heart. Are you open to be pursued by God? To seek His will? To know His mind? Or are you running away from Him and His will for you?

Come to Him in silence today. Listen closely. And hear police sirens coming your way. He is coming for you. Not to punish you. But to bless you with a beautiful life.

In Christ,

Bobby Q.

Atlas and the World

“…What does the law allow us to do on the Sabbath? To do good or to harm? To save life or to kill?…” (Mark 3:4)

 

I sat in front of one of my spiritual mentors last week and told him, “Ken, I’m exhausted from all my preaching engagements, not to mention all the domestic concerns at home. I feel like Atlas, you know, carrying the whole world on his shoulders. I can’t afford to rest, otherwise I fear that my world will come tumbling down…”

He smiled at me and said, “Try coming out from under the world. You will realize, it will not fall even without you. You see, it rests on the shoulders of someone bigger than you. It rests on the shoulders of God….”

Ugghh! The truth hurts. But that is the truth.

Sometimes, we arrogantly think that we carry our business, our service and our finances on our shoulders. That if we choose to rest even for awhile, the world will come tumbling down.

But the truth of the matter is this: God carries your world, not you.

So find time to rest. Your business will not fall apart without you. Your ministry will not come to a stand still as you rest. Your family will not suffer if you take a day-off to reflect and pray.

I am reminded of the story of the elephant who crossed a hanging bridge one day. As he crossed the bridge, a small ant decided to sit on top of him. Upon reaching the other side, the small ant arrogantly uttered, “Boy! Did we rock that bridge!”.

Sometimes, just like the ant, we can arrogantly think that we have a 50-50 share with God when it comes to conquering our dreams and facing our challenges. On the contrary, the sharing scheme is anything but that. Our share is quite minimal. We pray. We work hard. We do our part. But God carries the bigger burden of carrying us through life.

In today’s gospel, Jesus said:

“…What does the law allow us to do on the Sabbath? To do good or to harm? To save life or to kill?…” (Mark 3:4)

God gives us the Sabbath to rest because his ultimate goal is to save us. Not to overburden us. Not to drain us of all our strength. Not to zap us of all our energy. God doesn’t want you to die serving Him. On the contrary, He wants you to find life serving Him.

So take my advice: Take a breather. Relax. Rest.

Believe me, your world will not fall apart without you because it rests on the shoulders of Him who is bigger than you.

You are not Atlas. God is.

Resting in God’s presence,

Bobby Q.

God is Capable!

“…But new wine, new skins!…” (Mark 2:22)

I was in a retreat last Saturday. During one of the meditation times, I struck an intimate and sincere conversation with the Lord.

“Lord,” I said, ” Life can be very overwhelming. Kaya ko ba ito?”

Honestly, it was a “fishing” question. You know, the kind of question that fishes for a desired answer. I was half-hoping God would assure me that I can do it. That I have what it takes to accomplish my dreams. That I am capable of surmounting all challenges 2009 has to offer.

Then God, as He always does, surprised me with his answer: “Alam mo, anak. Hindi. Hindi mo kaya yan.”

Whoa! I was dumbfounded. How can God be so discouraging?

Then He continued, “Hindi mo kaya. Pero kaya ko.”

And then it dawned on me: I am not capable but God is.

Because while I am weak, faithless, tentative, easily discouraged, selfish, and limited in so many ways, God isn’t.

My friend, your 2009 resolutions can be very daunting. The goals you set for yourself this year can be very intimidating. The things you want to change in yourself can be very overwhelming. But the good news is this: You have a God far bigger than all your resolutions, goals and dreams combined. And HE is capable!

“…But new wine, new skins!…” (Mark 2:22)

You can only have “new skins” this year if the “new wine” is in your life. The “new skins” are your goals for the year. The “new wine” is a renewed relationship with God. Without the latter, don’t even think of accomplishing the former.

For while you are not capable, God is.

Excited for the year,

Bobby Q.

Fishing Passion

“…Follow me and I will make you fishers of men…” (Mark 1:17)

When people ask me what my job is, my quick reply is, ” I don’t hav any”. You see, when you love your work, it ceases to be a job. It becomes a passion.

A passion is what you do regardless if you get paid or not.

I love what I do — fishing…fishing for men and women, that is.

I am passionate when it comes to speaking about God’s love. I get a high when I see a person dedicate his life to God after a speak. I am enthralled whenever I see people embrace the cross of Christ after I preach.

My passion was born 17 years ago, on the day Christ came into my life in a very personal and powerful way back in the University. Since then, the thought of preaching for the sake of the Gospel became my greatest joy — greater than all my other passions combined.

Truly, what Jesus told Simon and Andrew in today’s gospel rings true for me.

“…Follow me and I will make you fishers of men…” (Mark 1:17)

Today, I invite you to check your heart. What is your passion? What is that one thing you are willing to do regardless if you get paid or not?

My prayer is this: that you will find a passion so big that it can accommodate all your other passions combined.

If you have yet to find a passion, I invite you to try Jesus.

Follow Him…and He will teach you how to fish for men.

Enjoying fishing still,

Bobby Q.

Learning from Jesus

“…Isn’t this the son of Joseph?…” (Luke 4:22)

In his book “The Leadership Secrets of Jesus”, author Mike Murdock recounts:

“…Some years ago, Elvis Presley did a concert in Indianapolis, Indiana. One of my close friends, a deputy sheriff in Indianapolis, was in charge of security backstage. He noticed that a man dressed in an old windbreaker jacket was shuffling around, as if he was some bum off the street. As my friend prepared to evict him from the building, someone stopped him and said, ‘That man is Colonel Parker, the manager of Elvis Presley’…”

People are quick to judge. It’s part of our fallen nature.

No wonder the people in Jesus’ town in today’s gospel found it difficult to believe that Jesus was who he claimed to be. Quickly, they referred to his pedigree in evaluating the validity of his claim.

“…Isn’t this the son of Joseph?…” (Luke 4:22)

the child who used to play with my son?

…the boy who fixed our bed?

…the lad who nailed our roof?

…Could he be the messiah?

It was a good thing that Jesus knew one key to happiness: know who you are and your purpose in life.

Jesus did.

He knew He was the Son of God. His mission was clear to Him: to save mankind.

Hence, no criticism, disbelief or smear campaign was enough to shake his convictions.

How about you? Do you know who you are? Are you aware of your gifts? Are you confident of your worth? Do you know your purpose in life?

Because if you do, then no one — not your boss, your colleagues at work, not even your relatives — can shatter your dreams.

Learn from Jesus. No other better model than Him.

Child of God,

Bobby Q.

Papang the Monster

“…Take courage, it is I…” (Mark 6:50)

Last night, my two daughters and I had our regular board meeting and it’s called: playtime.

Our game was called: Papang the Monster.

Draped over my head was a blanket as I pretended to be a sea monster with a huge appetite. My two daughters were on a small raft called “our bed”, and the ocean was called “our room”. Boy, we had fun!

Not until they became so tired from running away from Papang. It was then when they decided they’ve had enough. Snatching the blanket which covered my face, my two daughters joined in unison as they shouted with glee, “It’s just Papang!”.

Tell me, what did they do?

Answer: When it became so scary, they reminded themselves that it was just me all along and that there was no reason to fear.

In today’s gospel, in the midst of their fears and perplexity, Jesus had to remind the apostles that behind the storm and darkness is somebody who loves them and who would never allow anything bad to happen to them.

“…Take courage, it is I…” (Mark 6:50), Jesus said to them.

And He says the same thing to you, my friend.

What is that storm you face right now? What is that monster that threatens to swallow you?

Insurmountable debts?

A court case?

An illness?

Pain?

God will not cause it, but sometimes God allows it. Why?

To test you. To teach you. To make you a better person.

And when the waves become too high, or the darkness too dark, God takes the blanket off and reminds you, “take courage, it is I”.

He holds your life. He is in control. He will not allow anything bad to happen to you.

Last night, my two daughters slept beside me, one on each side. They slept so peacefully. They know what most people do not.

Their “monster” is their Papang…and hence, there is no reason to fear. 

Sleep peacefully, my friend.

Trusting God,

Bobby Q.

Where Light Shines the Brightest

“…the people living in darkness have seen a great light…” (Matthew 4:16)

March – Mara hospitalized for high fever; Robelle followed suit;

April – Papang placed on insulin for diabetes and whose foot was in danger of being amputated;

May – My sister with chronic acute gastro problems;

June – My brother and sister-in-law losing their child to a miscarriage;

July – Daddy diagnosed with a serious liver condition;

August – Financial challenges brought about by a change of career;

September – Our family property in the province under litigation and in danger of being foreclosed;

November – Jeng suffering the first attack of her abdominal pains; her grandmother passing away;

December – Robelle and Mara getting sick with dengue one after another; Jeng suffering her second major attack of her abdominal pains; Robelle and Mara getting digestion problems on the days leading to Christmas; Water pipes breaking down at home; I nearly died because of a vehicular accident; Jeng undergoing a complicated gall bladder surgery

It was a year of darkness for us, as a family…but it was also the year when the Light shone the brightest.

God…our provider

God…our healer

God…our protector

God…our consolation

God…our joy

 Truly,  “…the people living in darkness have seen a great light…” (Matthew 4:16).

And so we enter 2009 in a blaze, shining brightly like never before.

To God be the glory!

Basking in God’s Light,

Bobby Q.