YOUR GOD IS YOUR DAD

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!

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IN CONTROL

The earth will not revolve nor rotate without His permission.
The sun won’t rise, nor the moon shine, nor the stars sparkle without his consent.
The seconds won’t trickle, nor the minutes move, nor the hours pass, nor the days consumed without his approval.
No trouble, discomfort, distress or misfortune will come your way today without his acquiescence.
All blessings that fall on your lap first passed through his hands.
He directs. He allows. He permits.
Our faith is this: If God allows it, no matter how good or bad it may be, He sees something good to come out from it. His purpose is never to harm you nor destroy you but to bless and love you no matter what. In ways we don’t understand. In ways we don’t comprehend.
The Bible says: “God’s folly is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.” (1 Corinthians 1:25)
Not for a moment should you even think that God has bailed out on you. He hasn’t. No matter how tough, painful, difficult or fearful your situation might be. Keep your head high. God is up to something.
God is King. God is powerful. God is sovereign.
He is always IN CONTROL.

A TRIBUTE TO BILLY GRAHAM

 

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.

PAIN IN THE NECK

I was recently diagnosed to have “cervical spondylosis”.

Scary medical term, huh?

It only means though that I have arthritis of the neck, at least that’s how my good doctor explained it to me — that my neck is older than my age. Without proper care of the neck, the painful sensation can radiate from my neck down to my arms. Quite painful, to be honest, when it is at its peak like say two weeks ago when I was rushed to the emergency room of a nearby hospital.

Now, two weeks later, and feeling much, much better, I got a chance to reflect and see my situation through my spiritual lenses.

My lifelong burden is basically a “pain in neck”, in both the literal and figurative sense. No more carrying of heavy stuff. No more random sleep posture at night. No more playing basketball. Quite a burden to carry for the rest of my life, don’t you think so?

Well, not until you see it from the perspective of Someone who carried something on his back in worse circumstances.

Compared to His burden which broke his spine, my burden only scarred a portion of mine.

I caused my burden, He didn’t cause His.
Mine was a pinch while His was a punch.
Mine can be relieved by medication while His can be relieved only by crucifixion.
Mine can be eased by therapy while His can be eased only by death.

And here’s the clincher: His burden was for my salvation.

Could I not then at least share in His burden by offering my pain for the salvation of others?

Everytime the shooting pain radiates from the neck to the arm, let it be for that lonely man behind bars who misses his family day after day.

Everytime the discomfort comes at night, let it be for that woman trapped in that marriage with that violent man.

Everytime a wrong posture hurts, let it be for that troubled young man hooked into drugs.

How about you? Are you going through some kind of physical or emotional pain now? Use it well. Offer it for the salvation of souls. Let it be your humble share in the salvific act of Christ.

Let your every pain, discomfort, irritation, and burden this week echo so loudly in eternity with every soul saved.

As for me, the pain in my neck will always serve as a reminder that my sins dealt the pain on the neck of my Savior.

The least I can do is share in that pain…even just a little and even just for a little while.

Have a blessed week ahead!

*————————–*
P.S. Thanks for all those who have been praying for me! I am getting better by the day!

THE FATHER’S LOVE

What made David weep over the death of his son Absalom?

…the very son who undermined his authority
…who rebelled against him
…who sought his death.

What made Jairus plead with Jesus for the healing of his daughter?

…despite his status
…despite the embarrassment
…despite the possibility of rejection.

The Father’s love.

Immovable.
Tangible.
All-consuming.

Yet the love of an earthly father pales in comparison what that of the Heavenly One.

For His children.
For His precious ones.
For you and me.

If David and Jairus did what they did, what makes you think God the Father won’t do that for you?

Be at peace, Child. No matter what you will face today, everything shall be well.

Simply because of the indescribable and overwhelming love of the Father for you!

HE IS HERE

I woke up on the morning of Father’s Day with only one thought as in years past: I have to greet my father.

And then it hit me: My earthly father is no longer around…for the very first time in all my 41 years.

I can’t text or call him anymore. I can no longer treat him out to his favorite Max’s Restaurant. I can’t watch PBA games with him anymore.

He’s gone and there is nothing I can do to bring him back.

I woke up sluggishly that day. I crawled my way out of the bed and dragged myself to the showers. I climbed the stairs to the session hall with lead-heavy legs and worked my way to preach that morning. Several times during my talk, I had to catch myself and hold back my tears. Father’s Day is just not Father’s Day without Papang. It’s just not the same.

The 2 hour drive that afternoon from Tagaytay to Manila was no different. The beautiful scenery of the Sta. Rosa roads didn’t bring much comfort and instead, only amplified the emptiness of not having Papang on Father’s Day.

And then I arrived home.

The moment I entered our living room, my family, all five of them including my wife Jeng, greeted me excitedly and joyously. Kisses. Hugs. A song number. Celebrating mass with them. Then pizza at our favorite family place, Shakeys.

Just before I retired to bed that night, when all of them were already asleep, I caught a glimpse of myself on our full length mirror. There, before me stood a man I barely recognized. Familiar yet different. The squint of his eyes. The curl of his lips. The hunch on those shoulders. The tilt of his stand.

There he is. My dad. My Papang.

His spirit lives in me. His values dwell in my heart. His words embedded in my mind.His strength emanating from my being.

Papang isn’t gone.

He is here.

And for as long as I strive to live my life in honor of my father, I know he will always be.

Have a blessed Father’s Day to all my fellow dads out there!

OF DOORKNOBS AND LIFE

Mara left our bedroom door open while the aircon was running. She apologized to Jeng but afterwards, before Jeng closed the door, she found out that the door knob lock was actually pressed down the whole time. It turns out that it was a good thing that Mara did not close the door, otherwise we would all be locked out.God can turn our mistakes around and make them a blessing.

It’s true with doorknobs.

It’s true with life.