Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Resolutions for 2009



1. To keep a daily journal.

2. To read more.

3. To write more.

4. To read through Jonathan Edwards' Resolutions. I'm hoping to find some things there that I may adapt as my own.

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Lord, these things I hope to fulfill for your glory.
Be with me in this endeavor, for apart from you I can do nothing.


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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Isaiah's Christmas


Christmas Lessons from a Man Who Lived Seven Centuries Before Jesus' Birth



Isaiah 9:6


For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Israel is under the threat of Assyrian invasion. Assyria is God's instrument in bringing judgment to rebellious Israel (10:5-6).

God hides his face. He withdraws his favor upon the nation (8:17). Yet in their sinfulness, Israel did not seek God. Instead they hired mediums and necromancers so they could consult the dead (8:19)

And when the prophesied invasion, distress and famine came, they did not repent. Their response: they cursed God (8:21).

The Promised Light

Yet God in his mercy will send his light to subdue the darkness. Light will come (9:2). They will rejoice. They will be glad (9:3). As in the day of Midian, as in the time of Gideon, they will triumph over their oppressors (9:4). They will burn their battle boots and garments (9:5). They no longer need it for peace is coming.

God's cure for our horrors


God's cure for all their misery is--- a baby (9:6). The government shall be upon his shoulders and when he rules, he will be called:

1. Wonderful Counselor- His wisdom is greater than all other kings combined. He could never go wrong in his decisions. His knowledge is perfect.

2. Mighty God- He is powerful. He will never lose a war. He will subdue all his enemies.

3. Everlasting Father- His care for his people will be as tender as an affectionate father. Social injustice will never thrive when this king reigns.

4. Prince of Peace- He is able to bring peace. Not just absence of war, but he will cure the people of their sinfulness so that they will have peace with God (Romans 5:1)

This is Christmas according to Isaiah, that a God so zealous (9:7) to save a rebellious people sent a baby for us to be our king. Oh truly, this grace is amazing


Matthew 1:21

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Aanhin Mo ang "Answered Prayer" kung Nakasimangot naman ang Diyos?

Psalm 106:15: "So he gave them what they asked for,
but sent a wasting disease upon them."


Which do you prefer: a prayer denied or a prayer answered?

Surely, we want God to grant our requests. We want to receive the things that we are longing for. Hindi matino para sa isang tao ang humingi pero ayaw namang tumanggap. We ask because we want to receive.

Ngayo’y baguhin natin ang tanong. Alin ang gusto ninyo: Ipagkait ng Diyos ang ating hinihiling- pero nakangiti siya sa atin o ibigay ng Diyos ang gusto natin pero nakasimangot naman siya?

Minsan ay nagreklamo ang mga Israelita: “Hay! Abo ba natan ‘to? Wala man lang karne… Buti pa sa Ehipto, may isda… may pipino… may milon. May sibuyas… may bawang…pero Ngayon puros manna… manna… manna… Sawang-sawa na kami. Bumalik na lang tayo sa Ehipto”

Ano ang tugon ng Panginoon? Ibinigay niya ang layaw ng kanilang puso. Umihip ang hangin at dala nito maraming karne, karne ng pugo. Abot hanggang baywang, pulot lang ng pulot. Malamang ay sasabihin ng iba: "Aba, answered prayer!"

Subalit sa galit ng Diyos, ang kasunod ng karne ay isang salot at marami ang namatay. Bakit, ang sabi sa verse 13, “they forgot his works” and “they did not wait for his counsel”. They did not honor him as holy. They think of God as untrustworthy. Their belly is more important than God. They craved for meat… they craved for fish… they craved for cucumbers, melons, onions and garlic… May gana sa pagkain, pero walang gana sa Diyos.

Brethren, what does it profit a man if he gains the desires of his heart yet forfeits the pleasure of God? Let us honor Him. Let us wait for his counsel. Let us trust and obey. By His perfect wisdom, He knows what to give. And He knows what to withhold.

Let us keep on asking, but let us remember that we should seek the Giver, not the gifts.

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Kahit Maputi na ang Buhok Natin



Psalm 71:9-12
Do not cast me away when I am old;
do not forsake me when my strength is gone.
For my enemies speak against me;
those who wait to kill me conspire together.
They say, "God has forsaken him;
pursue him and seize him,
for no one will rescue him."
Be not far from me, O God;
come quickly, O my God, to help me.


Nang panahon ng kanyang kabataan, si David ay isang mahusay na mandirigma. Sa 2 Sam.17:8, ang paglalarawan sa kanya ni Hushai ay “mighty… expert in war” (ESV). Hindi ba’t may isang awit na lubhang ikinagalit ni Haring Saul? : "Saul has slain his thousands, and David his tens of thousands." (I Sam. 18:7)

Subali’t hindi totoo ang kasabihang “Kalabaw lang ang tumatanda”. Sa paglipas ng panahon ay unti-unting naramdaman ni David ang paghina ng kanyang mga bisig; nauubos ang liksi ng mga binti at tibay ng mga tuhod. Pati ang kanyang paningin na dati-rati’y ubod ng talas, ngayon ay patuloy na lumalabo. Doon nga sa I kings 1:1, sumapit ang sandali na kahit pagpatung-patungin mo ang mga kumot sa kanyang katawan, giniginaw pa rin ang matandang David.

Dito sa Psalm 71, tumanda na nga si David, pero ang kanyang mga kaaway ay hindi nauubos. Sinasamantala nila ang lahat ng pagkakataon upang magsabwatan sa pagpapabagsak kay David.

Sa mga sitwasyong ganito, walang ibang lalapitan si David kundi ang matagal na niyang sinasandalan. Ps. 71:5-6: “For you have been my hope, O Sovereign LORD, my confidence since my youth. From birth I have relied on you;you brought me forth from my mother's womb. I will ever praise you.

Kahit pala noong panahon ng kanyang kabataan; kahit nuon-noon pang malakas siya, hindi siya nagtiwala sa sarili niyang kapangyarihan. Sa lahat ng kanyang pinagdaanan, siya pala ay paulit-ulit na nagkubli sa proteksyon ng kanyang Diyos. Sa verse 20-21, ang kanyang mga pinagdaanang pighati ay marami at pawang mapapait, pero paulit-ulit rin ang paghango sa kanya ng Panginoon mula sa pagkakabagsak kaya’t panatag siya na muli siyang bibigyang karangalan ng Diyos.

Saksi ang bawat araw na idinadagdag ng Panginoon sa ating edad; nagpapatotoo ang mga ito sa katapatan ng Panginoon. At habang tayo ay tumatanda, nawa’y tumitibay rin ang ating pananampalataya sa ating Diyos. Pumuti man ang buhok natin- maaasahan natin siya sapagkat nakataya dito ang kanyang karangalan at kapurihan: (v. 22-24). Ang nais nga ng Panginoon ay maipahayag natin sa mga susunod na salin-lahi ang kanyang kadakilaan (v.18)

Dito sa ibabaw ng lupa, habang tayo ay humihinga. Tiyak na darating ang ibat ibang kahirapan, kapighatian, at problema. Subalit ito ang ating kapanatagan, na ang Diyos ay kasama natin sa lahat ng panahon: edad man natin ay 20, 40, o 80… pumuti man ang buhok natin o kahit malagas na ang lahat ng buhok natin, ang Panginoon ay isang kanlungan na paulit-ulit na masisilungan.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Bakit Nasa Hall of Faith si Samson?




Sa tuwing nadadaanan ako sa chapter 11 ng Hebrews (yung listahan ng mga pangalan na dapat nating tularan dahil sa kanilang pananampalataya), nagtataka ako kung bakit kasama ang pangalan ni Samson sa verse 32.

Paano napasali ang ang tulad niya? Eh halos dalawang dekadang namuhay sa imoralidad ang taong ito... Marami siyang ginawang kahangalan.

Naalala pa ba ninyo ang mga eksenang iyon...
Tatlong beses siyang nilinlang ni Delilah... pauli-ulit na panlilinlang
Sa ika-apat na pagkakataon, ang sabi ni Delilah: Oh Samson, hindi mo ako mahal... ayaw mong sabihin sa akin ang iyong sikreto.

Bakit hindi man lang sumagot si Samson ng: “huh, wag nga ka dyan Delilah, umaarte ka nanaman.

Tatlong beses man akong nagsinaungaling sa iyo, tatlong beses mo na rin ako sinubukang ipahamak”

Tuloy siya'y nabihag. Hindi siya pinatay sapagkat gusto ng mga kaaway na siya'y malagay sa kahihiyan habangbuhay. Kaya nga nila dinukot ang kanyang mga mata... Isipin ninyo ang pakiramdam ng isang dakilang mandirigma... isang kampeon ng digmaan...

Heto ako ngayon: habang buhay na ako’y bulag. Habangbuhay na wala akong makikita kundi dilim. Habangbuhay na ako’y nakatanila, at narito sa bilangguan bilang taga-giling.

Yun din naman talaga ang intensyon ng mga kaaway- ang siya’y ipahiya at insultuhin habang buhay... At sa kanyang mga kasalanan at kahangalan, iyan ay dapat lang sa kanya... The fool deserves the bitter fruits of his foolishness.


MGA KATANGIANG WALA KAY SAMSON
Maraming mga talata sa bibliya ng nagsasabi na ang hanap ng Diyos ay humble heart... contrite heart... broken spirit... mga katangiang wala kay Samson. Ito po ay isang literal na demonstrasyon ng Mark 9:47: And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell...

But in this case, Samson did not pluck out his own eyes... the eyes that caused him much trouble... yung mga matang laging naaakit sa mga magaganda tulad ni Delilah... It was God’s design that the enemies would pluck out the eyes of Samson in order to heal the heart of Samson.

Isa. 57:17-18: I was enraged by his sinful greed; I punished him, and hid my face in anger, yet he kept on in his willful ways. I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will guide him and restore comfort to him

Before enabling our lips to praise him, God shows us the gravity of our sins so we can mourn for them. Yet in Samson’s strength, God saw that Samson will not mourn for his sins. So what did God do? Tinanggal niya ang lakas ni Samson upang sa wakas ay maturuan si Samson ng pagpapasakop sa kalooban ng Diyos.

THE LAST DAY OF SAMSON
Sa kanyang huling araw ay may pagdiriwang ang mga kaaway sa ngalan ng

diyus-diyusan na si Dagon. Inilabas nila ang kanilang pabiritong bihag upang paglaruan. Akala kasi ng mga kaaway, ang kanilang diyos na si Dagon ang dahilan kung bakit nabihag nila si Samson. Pero hindi... hindi si Dagon kundi si Yahweh ang dahilan ng pagkakabihag ni Samson . Ang tunay na Diyos ang dahilan kung bakit nasa nakakahiyang kalagayan ngayon si Samson.

Marahil pagsulyap pa lamang nila kay Samson ay maririnig na ang nakakabinging sigawan, pagkutya at pag-iinsulto.
Hindi nila alam na ito ang araw na itinakda ng Diyos upang sa wakas ay matupad ay

maging tunay na bayani si Samson. Sa kanyang huling dalangin: O Sovereign LORD, remember me.O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes... Let me die with the Philistines!”And the rest is history...”

BAKIT NGA BA NASA HALL OF FAITH SI SAMSON
Bakit nasa Hall of Faith si Samson?
Heb.11:32-34)... “whose weakness was turned to strength”
God made him physically weak... so that he can strengthen him spiritually. The reason why Samson is in this list is not because of Samson... It’s because God... It’s God
If not for the grace of God we will not even have a list like this; Kung walang grace... walang Hall of Faith ... Walang Hebrews 11... Kung walang grace, wala rin po tayo ngayon dito.

Thank God for his grace... The source of all good things... even our faith.

Psalm 115:1
Not to us, O LORD, not to us
but to your name be the glory,
because of your love and faithfulness.


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Friday, November 28, 2008

My heart is stirred by a noble theme...



Psalm 45:1
My heart is stirred by a noble theme
as I recite my verses for the king;
my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.

The difficulty of using Psalm 45 to kindle our worship is that some portions convey a secular emphasis. It is a true wedding song and the occasion is a true wedding of a true earthly king with a true earthly bride. How could we possibly use a “secular” song to serve as a fuel for our worship?

Yet other portions of the psalm suggest a sacred extension. And by the benefit of a completed canon, we learned that some portions of this Psalm have been quoted in the New Testament to emphasize the supreme position of our Lord Jesus Christ. The ultimate application of this Psalm then is about the Messiah—he is obviously more majestic than any earthly king. He is greater than David, Solomon and all other kings in history combined.

In verse 1, the Psalmist shares the condition of his heart upon the composition of this Psalm. He says that a noble theme moves his heart to recite his verses. He literally says that there is a boiling over in his heart. If he shall try to restrain himself from speaking, it will be a failure- because he cannot contain himself. He can’t keep it in. The heart of course, in biblical usage encompasses our intellect, volition, and emotion. This noble theme fills his thoughts and consequently his feelings. His mouth is unstoppable at this point- it must speak forth what’s inside.

Some say that that the noble theme that fills his hearts is the wedding. Maybe that’s true, but it is only a part of the whole truth. The next verses reveal that his heart is moved not just by the event but also by the majesty of the king. In verse 2, the psalmist praises the king for his excellence compared to the rest of men. And that the king’s lips are full of grace. In verses 3-4, he praises the valor of the king. He goes engages himself into warfare but only for worthy causes. The king fights for truth (he is against lies); he fights for humility (he is against pride); he fights for righteousness (he is against wickedness). In verse 5, this king is triumphant, subduing enemies. In verse 6, this king’s reign will not end. He will rule forever.

Goin back to verse 1, He also says that his tongue is the pen of a ready writer or as the NIV has rendered it, “my tongue is a pen of a skillful writer.” Its like saying, what you are about to hear is like a well written & finely edited work. You are about to hear a masterpiece. The he proceeds to recite his verses...
We don’t usually find edification or excitement in examining literary structures. But let’s think about this, 40%, almost ½ of the OT is poetry. A biblical writer uses poetry to express in imaginative terms lofty thoughts or impassioned feelings. There are noble themes and strong emotions for all poetry in the Bible.

As early as Moses and Miriam, when they have just witnesses how YHWH parted the Red Sea and later sweeping the Egyptian Armed Forces into the sea, they were awed by God’s power and greatness. How did Moses and Miriam expressed their lofty thoughts about God? Through a song. Through poetry recorded in Exodus 15. One verse of that song says,

Who among the gods is like you, O LORD?
Who is like you--
majestic in holiness,
awesome in glory,
working wonders?”

When the Spirit of God was poetic, He inspired His word upon the writing of all 150 Psalms. He gave us the Books of Job, Proverbs, Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes. Some poetry is also found in the Prophets—These he gave us to cover all arrays of human experience. Grief. Sorrow. Distress. Fear. Celebration. Praise. Excitement.

Ok, now that the time has come for us to sing songs to each other and to the Lord, I want to leave two things.

1st, I asked our worship leader to prepare songs about the Beauty and Majesty of Christ for that is the theme of verses 2-9. As we sing this songs, let us examine ourselves. Are we still awed by the Lord’s beauty and majesty? Do noble themes move our hearts? Or do we sing these songs mindlessly. When we sing Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, does it spring from a spirit-filled soul, mind, and heart? Or we sing songs because it is a ceremony that has become a part of Guiding Light Christian Church’s tradition that has developed through the past 10 years?

And when we are alone, when we see wonderful things about God in Scripture meditation and life application, are we not overwhelmed in our hearts and minds that it must find its expression with our lips.

2nd, and this is just the other side of the same coin. Do we reserve our best words for the praise and worship of our God and King. Or do we reserve our best adjectives for lesser things in this world. There are too many people in the world vastly skilled in the craft of speaking and writing, but they use if not for the glory of God but for their own glory and for the glory of lesser things. That should not be the case among Christians. We must reserve our best words and the best of our creativity for the giver of all good gifts. It is tragic, for our hearts to be moved by the aroma of the coffee, the sweetness of the ice cream, the scenery of Boracay, the speed of Pentium IV Dual Core, the voice of the diva, the charm of the campus crush, the sensation of sex, the power of money, if our hearts are not moved by the beauty and majesty of our Lord.

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