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!
The beautiful noonday sun shone brightly that day as I lazily stretched out under the overarching canopy of trees along the mesmerizing Boracay shoreline. Ahhh! What an incredible sight! Jeng, my wife, was enjoying her swim. I was enjoying well… just doing nothing.Then my thoughts turned to the profound.
I asked myself, “How can a missionary couple like Jeng and myself enjoy such pleasures in life?”
Without expecting it, I received an answer. In the deepest recesses of my heart came a soothing and all-loving voice, “Because I am your Dad.”
DAD. That word carries with it an avalanche of consoling truths and comforting emotions.
Dad means strength.
Dad means consolation.
Dad means security.
Dad means assurance.
Dad means safety.
Dad means comfort.
Dad means honor.
Dad means love.
No wonder a not-so-rich missionary like myself is treated to such royalty vacations and above-average luxuries.
My God is my Dad.
The Bible says:
“But my God shall supply all your need, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Phillipians 4:19)
The one who truly owns, not just the Boracay seas, but the entire universe is looking after me. He knows I need to rest. He knows I need recuperation. He knows I need to recharge.
Ever wonder if you can make it through your week with your tight budget? Or find the strength to recover from your illness? Or overcome that sin? Or win over that stressful situation?
Think about your Dad.
He is not asleep. He is not having a day-off. He is in control.
And He will supply your needs according to his riches in glory.
Yes, even as you relax by the Boracay seas!
I was captivated by the photo of a young man preaching before thousands in a football stadium. His charm, his wit, his eloquence and his passion resounded loudly in my heart. He had a no-nonsense approach to preaching the Gospel message. You either take it or you leave it. No double-talk. No sugar-coating. No theatrics. Just pure and simple challenge to either walk with Jesus or walk away from Him.
It was 1997. I was only 25 years old when I chanced upon a book on the life of renowned evangelist, the late Billy Graham. I couldn’t put the book down. I was mesmerized by his life and his mission. Back then, I was in the midst of a tedious and serious life discernment process. I was searching for my vocation. I knew God has called me to preach. But it seemed like he was also calling me to get married. As a Catholic, I found it difficult to reconcile the call to preach and the call to married life. Only priests or lay consecrated men preach. And they aren’t supposed to get married.
Yet here comes Billy Graham, preacher and family man rolled into one.
I resonated with his passion to preach and his love for lost people — two things closest to my heart. That’s essentially who I am.
On that day, God birthed into my heart a new image of how I wanted to spend the rest of my life. I will get married, raise a family and preach to the ends of the earth like Billy Graham.
That was more than 2o years ago. Today, 12 Catchfire Rallies and thousands of preaching engagements later, I look back with gratitude to the late Reverand Graham who was laid to rest yesterday. He never knew me but just like millions all over the globe, I am who I am today largely because of him.
He shone the light and paved the way. He is the preacher par excellence.
He is my inspiration.
He is Billy Graham.