Monday, November 28, 2011

The Almighty One Under Arrest

handcuffs
When the authorities are out to arrest someone, it is not unusual for the subject to use every means to evade it. Some go into hiding; some seek political asylum; some learn the art of disguise. The subject may even arm himself and exchange bullets with the arresting officers. You can only  get them when they are seriously wounded, or even worse, dead.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo reigned supreme in the land from January 20, 2001 to June 30, 2010. But since she no longer sits on Malacañang's throne, she was recently overpowered in a legal chess by the resolute Sec. Leila De Lima.

On the night the Lord Jesus Christ was captured, he demonstrated that he was not lacking in power to resist the arrest. The arresting team witnessed two awesome miracles that night: 
First, as soon as he said "I am he", they all fell backward to the ground (John 18:6).
Second, when Peter pulled out a sword and slashed off the ear of Malchus, Jesus instantly healed the wound and restored the organ (Luke 22:51).

They were arresting David's Lord; the One who is strong, mighty and unbeatable in battle (Psalm 24:8).
They were arresting Jeremiah's Sovereign God, with whom there is nothing too hard (Jeremiah 32:17)
 
On that same night, he said he could ask the Father in heaven to send thousands and thousands of angels to defend him (Matthew 26:53). They were arresting the Commander-in-Chief of heaven's armed forces.

Another conspicuous thing in the arrest accounts is the darkness of man's sinfulness. They have seen Jesus demonstrate his deity, but they proceeded with the arrest anyway. Truly our depravity is so severe; it is beyond cure by human means. This is the very reason why the Omnipotent One subjected himself to the "power" of mere earthly weaklings.

"He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed." (1 Peter 2:24)

The Almighty One could have had resisted the arrest and destroy them all on the spot. Yet God's power is not only manifested in his judgment of sinners, but also in the salvation of his people.  On the cross, he disarmed the powers of darkness (Colossians 2:15). He is mighty to save (Zephaniah 3:17).
 ------------------- 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Mata ng Diyos (Wolfgang)

Rev. 6:16
They called to the mountains and the rocks,
"Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb!"

Mata ng Diyos
Wolfgang


Pagdilat ng kanyang mga mata, ang buong paligid ay makulay. Siya ay gumising sa umagang ubod ng ganda. Subalit ang kaligayahang kanyang nadarama ay biglang napalitan ng takot na walang kapantay. Ang sumira sa kanyang payapang araw: siya ay tinitigan ng Diyos na hukom.

Ipinakita sa kanya ang lahat ng kanyang pagkakasala at sa kauna-unahang pagkakataon ay kanyang napansin ang bahid ng dugo sa kanyang mga kuko. Kumaripas siya ng takbo papalayo mula sa mga nanlilisik na mata ng Diyos, ngunit sino nga ba ang makakaiwas sa presensya ng Diyos? Wala.

Ang Pahayag 6:12-16 ay pangunang-silip sa kung ano ang mangyayari sa oras na mabatid ng mga tao na ibubuhos na ng Diyos ang kanyang poot sa daigdig. Sa kaganapan ng dakilang lindol, pangingitim ng araw, pamumula ng buwan at pagkahulog ng mga tala, magigimbal sa takot ang mga 'di mananampalataya. Iiwanan nila ang kabihasnan at ikukubli ang kanilang mga sarili sa mga yungib at mga kabundukan . Ngunit higit sa lahat ng kanilang mga kinatatakutan ay ang pagharap nila sa Diyos Ama at sa kanyang Kordero. Mas nanaisin pa nila na sila ay bagsakan ng mga bato at bundok kaysa sila ay titigan ng napopoot na Diyos.

Iyan nga ang sasapitin ng lahat ng hindi nanampalataya sa Korderong Tagapagligtas. Subalit sa atin na pinagkalooban ng pananampalataya, walang tayong dapat ikatakot o ikabahala.

1. Sa mga mata ng Diyos, tayo ay napatawad na. Tayo ay katanggap-tanggap sa kanyang harapan. May kapayapaan na sa pagitan natin at ng Diyos (Roma 5:1)

2. Sa mga mata ng Diyos, tayo ay malinis na. Wala na ang bahid ng dugo sa ating mga kuko. Ang kanyang dugo ang siyang naglinis sa atin (Heb. 9:14)

3. Sa mga mata ng Diyos, tayo na mga makasalanan ay ibinilang bilang matuwid. Sa ating pakikipag-isa kay Kristo, ang kanyang katuwiran ay ibinilang na atin. (1 Cor.1:30; 2 Cor. 5:21)

4. Sa mga mata ng Diyos, tayo ay mga sinisintang anak. Hindi mga rebelde o mga kriminal na dapat puksain ang tingin niya sa atin. Malaya tayong tawagin siyang "Ama" (Juan 1:12; Gal. 4:6); tayo ay mga anak na kanyang inaalagaan, iniingatan at pamamanahan ng 'di mabilang at 'di masukat na mga pagpapala. Hindi panlilisik ng mata ang sasalubong sa atin kundi mga sulyap ng pag-ibig.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Malayo pa ang Umaga (Rey Valera)

Psalm 130:6
My soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.






          Marahil ay nakikita ng karamihan ang kanilang mga sarili sa mga letra ng kanta kung kaya't ito ay sumikat. Ang mga tao ay dumadaan sa sari-saring mga suliranin. Mapait ang buhay; may mga pagkakataon na walang patid ang pagpatak ng ating mga luha. Ang buhay natin ay isang madilim at mahabang gabi. Panay ang lingon natin sa silangan sapagkat doon natin inaasahang sisikat ang araw. Subalit sa ating bawat paglingon, wala man lang ni isang guhit ng sinag tayong nasisilayan. Malayo pa ang pagsilip ng araw.
          Ang salmistang nasa likod ng Awit 130 ay dumadaan sa matinding suliranin; inilarawan niya ang kanyang kalagayan bilang isang taong dumadaing buhat sa kalaliman (talata 1). Subalit sa kabila ng lahat ng ito, ang salmista ay buong tiwalang naghihintay sa kung ano ang gagawin ng Panginoon. Paano nga kaya kung malayo pa ang umaga?
          Sa talata anim ay kanyang isinulat na ang kanyang pananabik sa pagdating ng umaga ay higit pa sa pananabik ng mga bantay. Sa kanilang kapanahunan, ang tungkulin ng mga bantay na ito ay magmatyag sa gabi. Habang nakahimlay ang karamihan, at habang maging ang mga mandirigma ay mahimbing na natutulog, nasa taas ng tore ang bantay. Siya'y nakatanaw sa malayo upang kung sakaling may papalapit na mga kaaway at nagbabanta ng pagsalakay, gigisingin ng bantay ang taong-bayan upang sila'y maging handa sa pakikidigma.
          Gabi-gabi, iyan ang gawain ng bantay. Siyempre, ang pinananabikan ng bantay ay ang pagdating ng umaga upang sa paggising ng mga tao, siya naman ang may pagkakataong magpahinga. Ang sabi ng salmista, higit ang kanyang pag-aabang sa umaga kung ihahambing sa pag-aabang ng mga bantay.
          Sa mga pagkakataong madilim at mahaba ang gabi ng ating buhay, ano ba ang mga maaari nating asahan?


1. Maaasahan natin na ang mga dalangin natin ay hindi nasasayang (talata 1,2).
       Iyan ang ginawa ng salmista; dumaing siya sa Panginoon upang humingi ng saklolo.
       Eh paano kung sa pakiramdam natin ay tila hindi nakikinig ang Diyos sa ating mga dalangin? Ang lunas ay panalangin pa rin! Huwag titigil sa paghiling na tayo ay pakinggan ng ating Diyos.


2. Kung sakali man na karapat-dapat tayong maghirap dahil sa ating mga pagkakasala, maaasahan natin na ang Diyos ay mapagpatawad (talata 3,4, at 8)
       Sa talata 3 ay kanyang ipinahayag ang katotohanan na wala ni isa, maging ang mga pinakabanal sa piling natin ang karapat-dapat sa harap ng Diyos. Maaaring sa tingin ng madla ay banal siya, subalit kanyang inaamin na kung siya ay sisingilin ng Diyos sa kanyang mga kasalanan, ni hindi siya makakatayo sa harap ng Diyos.
       Subalit panatag siyang lumalapit sa Diyos sapagkat alam niya na ang kanyang nilalapitan ay isang Diyos na mapagpatawad. Nakakamangha rin na ang pagkakilala ng katangian na ito ng Diyos ang nag-uudyok sa atin na mamuhay ng may takot sa kanya (talata 4)


3. Maaasahan natin na ang salita ng Diyos ay totoo at maaari nating panghawakan (talata 5)
       Dumampot tayo ng isang pangako mula sa Salita ng Diyos. Hebreo 13:5- "Hindi kita iiwan; ni pababayaan man". Dahil hindi niya tayo iiwan, hindi kailangang hintayin ang umaga upang masabing kasama natin siya. Sa hinaba-haba ng gabi, Siya'y kapiling pa rin natin.


Ang mga halaman ay matutuyo;
Ang mga gusali ay maglalaho
Subalit ang kanyang mga pangako
Ay hindi mapapako


4. Maasahan natin na ang pag-ibig ng Diyos ay hindi nagmamaliw (talata 7)
       Ano ang dapat alalahanin kung alam mong iniibig ka ng Diyos? Wala. Dahil mahal niya tayo, hinding-hindi siya gagawa ng anuman na ikakapahamak natin; at ang pag-ibig rin na ito ang dahilan kung bakit siya gagawa ng mga hakbang para sa ating kapakanan. Ang pinakadakilang pagpapakita ng pag-ibig na ito ay ginawa na niya halos dalawang libong taon na ang nakakaraan nang kanyang ibigay ang buhay ng kanyang anak para sa ating ikakatubos. Kung 'yan ay kanyang nagawa noon, ano pa kaya ang hindi niya kayang ibigay? (Roma 8:32)
       
       Dumadaan ka ba sa isang napakahabang gabi? Mabagal ba ang takbo ng orasan na tila ang isang segundo ay tumatagal ng isang oras? Pagbulayan ang Awit 130 at hintayin ang pagdating ng umaga ng may pagtitiwala.
------------------


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Church Harmony and Hermon's Dew

Psalm 133:1
How good and pleasant it is
    when brothers live together in unity!


Psalm 133:3
It is as if the dew of Hermon
    were falling on Mount Zion.
  For there the LORD bestows his blessing,
    even life forevermore.

As mandated by the Mosaic Law, the Israelites would go up to Zion to celebrate the God-ordained feasts three times a year (Exo.23:14). They have a set of songs to sing on their way up which we now call The Song of Ascents; the 133rd Psalm is one of them. What a pleasing sight it would have been to witness people from all walks of life singing a song about national and spiritual unity!

Two out of three of those annual feasts take place on dry months. At the peak of a drought, there is not even a drop of dew in Zion and in the  rest of the land (1 Kings 17:1).

There is a mountain range between Lebanon and Syria, and the tallest among them is Mount Hermon. In contrast to Zion, there is never a time in a year when Hermon is dry. You could  find ice at Hermon's peak even in the most severe droughts in the region. The dry months increase the usefulness of Hermon as its melting ice become a source of water to nearby places including the Jordan River.

One traveller narrates some memories from his visit:
"The vapour, coming in contact with the snowy sides of the mountain, is rapidly congealed, and is precipitated in the evening in the form of a dew, the most copious we ever experienced. It penetrated everywhere, and saturated everything. The floor of our tent was soaked, our bed was covered with it, our guns were dripping, and dewdrops hung about everywhere. No wonder that the foot of Hermon is clad with orchards and gardens of such marvelous fertility in this land of droughts."(Henry Baker Tristram, 1867)
The Psalmist is saying that in the unity of God's people, it is as if Jerusalem is refreshed by the water descending from Hermon. Jerusalem may be too distant to be a recipient of Hermon's dew, but it is very near God, the one who has "commanded the blessing." And where there's water, the grasses are green, the trees bear fragrant blossoms, the grains are plump, luscious fruits are in abundance, and the animals are well-fed. Best of all, human life is sustained.

Individual members of God's people face various trials daily. Souls are severely dehydrated wandering around the Desert of Sahara. May they find oasis in our churches. Let's pursue unity.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Church Harmony and the Oil Poured on Aaron

Psalm 133:1
How good and pleasant it is
    when brothers live together in unity!


Psalm 133:2
It is like precious oil poured on the head,
    running down on the beard,
  running down on Aaron's beard,
    down upon the collar of his robes.

Unknowingly, those who cause unnecessary divisions in the church deprive themselves of wonderful blessings, much like dumping a pile of mud on the very well where they fetch water.  

Psalm 133 should motivate us to pursue church unity; for it pronounces blessing upon brothers who "live together in  unity". That blessedness was likened to two things: first, the oil poured upon Aaron (verse 2); and second, the dew of Mt. Hermon (verse 3).

In this post, we will dwell on verse 2. The third verse will be tackled in the next post.

1. The Oil Conveys the Blessing of Being Special
We derived this first point by looking into two questions:
       a. What the oil was?
       b. What the oil did?

Both of these questions are answered in Exodus 30:22-33.

As to the question "What the oil was?" we see that it was a very special fragrant oil. It was exclusively for tabernacle use. The proper blend was a general knowledge; the right proportion is known by all for it is written in the book. But I guess no one dared to imitate the blend for personal use, for a warning was issued: "Whoever makes perfume like it and whoever puts it on anyone other than a priest must be cut off from his people.'"

As to the question "What the oil did?", we find out that whatever it touched became holy (v.29). Ordinary utensils became holy. Ordinary men from the tribe of Levi became special when the oil was applied on them.

Thus, church harmony is pleasant for it conveys that we are a special people. It is a manifestation that we are a holy nation. We may look ordinary in the eyes of men, but our unity in the faith testifies that we are a people belonging to God.

2. The Oil Conveys the Blessing of Acceptable Worship.
The mention of Aaron's name drives us to look into the significance of the Aaronic ministry. The primary aspect of the ministry is to offer sacrifices in behalf of the people.

In Leviticus 9, after Aaron offered the sacrifices, the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people, and fire came out before the Lord's presence to consume what was offered. The people fell on their faces out of reverence yet they were shouting with joy knowing that their sacrifices were accepted.

Another aspect of Aaronic ministry is to pronounce the priestly blessing upon the people (Numbers 6:23-27). Part of the formula to be uttered is "the LORD make his face shine upon you" (v.25). The NLT renders it as "May the LORD smile on you". The opposite of that is for the Lord to face you with a frown. When a king is displeased with you, you know your life is in danger. You may sing praises to him all day but it will not change a thing; it may even aggravate the situation for your voice is an abomination to his ears.

Church harmony is pleasant for it conveys that out worship is not in vain. We can come to God corporately and he faces us with a smile. We may not be the best of singers but our praises are accepted before his throne. He is pleased with what we offer and he bestows blessing upon our lives.

3. The Oil Conveys Abundant Grace

Notice that the Psalmist pays attention to the quantity of the oil poured upon Aaron. Upon the first drop, it would have been enough to make Aaron fit for the ministry. Yet the oil was poured lavishly that it flowed from his head, to his beard and to his robe. You can also imagine how fragrance filled the air.

Church harmony is pleasant because it conveys the abundance of God's grace on his people. When he bestows blessing upon us, he doesn't measure it in teaspoons. What he gives his people is "grace upon grace" (John 1:16)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Unpretty (TLC)



I used to watch TLC's official music video here:<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YcgM_cFyDuA>. But it is now blocked from Philippine viewers due to copyright grounds, so I have to settle with the one above (audio and lyrics only). I was still able to view the official video last week. I was then surprised by the significant increase in the number of views. The reason: younger audiences became interested in it because the teen-oriented TV series Glee featured it's own version of Unpretty.

There were several vignettes of stories in the original TLC video. What's portrayed in one of the more prominent vignettes are the emotional pains of the ladies caused by the pressure to look beautiful according to the standards of the men they love. Women do all their best to look pleasing in the eyes of their partners yet they always fall short of the standard set by magazine models and TV stars. Hence, ladies' hearts are broken feeling unpretty.

Brothers, let us serve as instruments in building up the faith of our sisters. We have to pull them away from worldly standards and direct them to a biblical view of beauty. Could we commit our selves to give less compliments for our sisters' physical features and commend them more for their pursuit of Christlikeness?

Many of our sisters are spiritually weak; they often succumb to ungodly influences. They need us to remind them that physical beauty will be here today and gone tomorrow. Let us tell them that what matters most is how they appear in God's sight.

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." (1 Peter 3:3-4)

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised." (Proverbs 31:30)


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Apples of Gold in Settings of Silver (09-18-2011)

  
 in place of "books", I would like to substitute the word "blogs"
 "Books may preach where the author cannot, when the author may not, when the author dares not, yea, and (which is more), when the author is not."
~Thomas Brooks
******************************
 The heart's throne and Christian living
"Your heart is the central aspect of your being and what you treat as holy there cannot help but have a massive impact on the rest of your life: how you speak, how you act, how you respond to tragedy, persecution and difficulty, {and} to death itself.."  

~James R. White
******************************
The Sinful Man and His Labors (Psalm 90:17)
"The Lord's acceptance of his own assures a certain permanence of their work. Life under the sun may be vain. The man under God's judgment can accomplish no ultimate good. However, the godly and wise pray that the Lord will accept their work and "establish" it as having value . Frail, limited, and sinful as man is, the love of God can transform what is weak to his own glory." 

~Willem VanGemeren
******************************
 Personal faith and social concern
"Personal faith in Jesus Christ comes with a set of social obligations. A Christian who lives in the awareness of what the Savior has done for her also asks what she can do for Him. We are not merely objects of grace but instruments of grace." 

~Haddon Robinson
******************************
 On forgiveness
"To return evil for good is devilish. To return good for good is human. To return good for evil is divine" 

~William Temple

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Soundtrip Sabado (09-17-2011)

Precious Blood
Those who read Boy Meets Girl may remember that Joshua Harris
married an aspiring recording artist.This is Shannon's voice.


------------------------------------
Sugar Hiccup
Womb


------------------------------------
Let's All Go Down to the River
I was only about 10 years old when Jimmy Swaggart was at the peak of his popularity.
I can only remember three things about the TV broadcasts:
1. Swaggart's singing voice while playing the piano;
2. Swaggart's dynamic gestures while preaching on the return of the prodigal son
3. the voice of John Starnes

Friday, September 16, 2011

GUEST POST: A Life of Prayer

by Sheryll O. Yap

Her preferred introduction: 
"Sheryll is a Young Adults Ministry volunteer of Soli Deo Gloria Christian Ministries in Davao City. She is also a government worker  in her non-spare time"
Photo Credit: Homemaker in Progress

A Life Prayer
April 7,2007
The Lord taught me to pray:
"Lord whatever may happen to me,
may I never forget
who You are in my life."

When He lifts me up before the eyes of men
When His favor makes me a blessing to others
And I am tempted to take the credit for myself,
I remember who He is in my life,
That apart from Him I am nothing,
Then my pride is crushed
and am humbled before Him.

When I am afraid and want to run away
When terror seem to eat me up
And I cannot move..
I remember who He is in my life
and I am calmed
For the Lord is my refuge
I shall not be shaken.

When I am discouraged and bowed down
And laid low in the dust because of my sins,
When I feel most unworthy to serve Him
Especially before the eyes of men
I remember who He is in my life
And I am renewed--
For the Lord chose me not because I was good
But only because of His mercy and grace.

When I feel so weary and long to depart
When the struggle I have to face
Seem to come up over me
I remember who He is in my life
And I am restored.
For it is He who gives me wisdom
and the strength to move on.

Lord, who are You in my life?
You have become everything to me
Ever since the time
when you showed me Your love
You have made me treasure it above all
...above all pain
...above all tears
...above all sorrows
...above all joys
...above everything.

For when I see the Son I tremble
Not with terror but with awe
I wonder how You could include me
When You hung upon that tree.
Who am I that You should love me?
Who am I that I should be spared?
You don't need me, O God,
You don't need me.
And yet You have loved me
And cared for me as Your own.

How I long for the day
When Your purpose for my life
Will be accomplished
When the mission You have assigned
For me is done.
For it is then, I know,
You shall take me to be with You
To make me finally see
the God of my life.
On that blessed day with the saints
I shall say before You:

"Thank You, O God, for always reminding me
Who You really are in our lives."

Amen and amen.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"Kapag binato ka ng bato, batuhin mo ng Tinapay" VS. "Lintik lang ang walang ganti"

Basahin muna: Genesis 50:15-21

Dalawang kasabihang magkasalungat ang mensahe. Ang una'y mahirap gawin. Ang pangalawa'y natural sa makasalanang tao. Pero bakit nagawa ni Joseph ang una? Siya na ipinagbili ng kanyang mga kapatid bilang kalakal; Siya na naging alipin sa Ehipto; siya na nabilanggo nang walang katarungan; siya na sa loob ng maraming taon ay nagdusa sa sakit ng damdamin at lungkot ng pag-iisa. Paano niya nagawang gantihan ng kabutihan ang lahat ng kasamaang ginawa sa kanya?

Siyempre, kasama diyan yung kanyang pananaw na ang Diyos na may kontrol sa lahat ng naganap ay may mabuting layunin. Kayang-kaya ng Diyos na baligtarin ang masamang hangarin ng tao para sa kabutihan (Genesis 50:20).

Bukod diyan, isa ring dahilan ang kanyang pagkakilala sa Diyos bilang Tanging Hukom. Sagot niya sa pag-aalinlangan ng kanyang mga kapatid, "Am I in the place of God?' (verse 19) Para sa kanya, ang Diyos lamang ang nasa posisyon upang magbigay katarungan. Hindi nararapat na ilagay natin ang batas sa ating sariling kamay. Kung kailangang sungkitin ang mata ng tao, ang nagbigay ng mata ang siyang may karapatang manungkit. Kung kailangang putulin ang daliri ng tao, ang pinagmulan ng daliri ang may karapatang pumutol. Kung kailangan pumatak ang dugo, ang nagkaloob ng dugo ang siyang dapat magpapatak nito. Kung kailangang kitilin ang buhay ng tao, ang may bigay ng buhay ang siyang may karapatang magpataw ng parusang kamatayan.

Romans 12:19-20
19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:
   “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
   if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
(NIV)

If wrath is needed, it must not come from sinful beings like us but from the one who remains perfectly holy even in his expression of wrath.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Apples of Gold in Settings of Silver (09-11-2011)

  Before and after hearing the sermon
"Come to your knees to the sermon, and come from the sermon to your knees"   
~Joseph Alleine 
******************************
 Preservation and Perseverance
"The reason true Christians do not fall from grace is that God graciously keeps them from falling. Perseverance is what we do. Preservation is what God does. We persevere because God preserves."  
~R.C. Sproul Sr.
******************************
The man of God and his task
"God fits the man for the place, and the place for the man;there is an hour for the voice, and a voice for the hour." 
~Charles H. Spurgeon
******************************
 Engaging in Controversies
"Controversy for the sake of controversy is sin. Controversy for the sake of the truth is a divine command." 
~Walter Martin
******************************
 On Influences
"Some books and teachers leave their indelible fingerprints on our souls. And when those fingerprints are left, it's as if our DNA has been changed." 
~Ravi Zacharias
******************************
Traditions
"All Christians are at once beneficiaries and victims of tradition-- beneficiaries, who receive nurturing truth and wisdom from God's faithfulness in the past generations; victims, who now take for granted things that need to be questioned, thus treating as divine absolutes patterns of belief and behavior that should be seen as human, provisional, and relative. We are all beneficiaries of good, wise, and sound tradition and victims of poor, unwise, and unsound traditions.." 
~J.I. Packer

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Soundtrip Sabado (09-10-2011)

Hungry (Falling on my Knees)


------------------------------------
 Cynthia Alexander 
Kawikaan
inspired by the Book of Proverbs, Christian songwriters
Laverne Ducut and Cathy Carlos collaborated to write this song.
The result: the song placed 2nd in the 2001 Metropop Songwriting Festival


------------------------------------
Petra
No Doubt

Friday, September 9, 2011

Earth's City Lights

Click HERE for larger image
Matagal-tagal na rin ang pagkakagawa ng imaheng nasa itaas subalit kamakailan ko lang ito namasdan. Gamit ang satellite, ito ay pinagtagpi-tagping mga kuha ng larawan upang maipakita ang liwanag at dilim sa iba't ibang panig ng daigdig sa oras ng gabi.

Sa mga mauunlad na lungsod, kitang-kita ang ningning ng mga ilaw. Matingkad na kadiliman naman sa mga kagubatan at disyerto ng Africa. Natural na madilim din sa Antartica kasi wala namang taong nakatira doon maliban sa mga scientist na nananaliksik.

May tuldok ng liwanag sa gitna ng Palawan kaya nasabi ko sa aking sarili, "Ah! yun siguro ang Puerto Princesa!"

Sa Asya, walang papantay sa Japan. Mula dulong hilaga hanggang dulong timog, nakakasilaw ang liwanag.

Sumagi lang sa aking isip, hindi lang naman industriyalisasyon at pag-usbong ng ekonomiya ang palatandaan ng pagpapala ng Diyos sa mga bansa. Maunlad nga ang Japan subali't ayon sa datos ng Joshua Project:
  • 1.56% lang ng populasyon ang professing Christians (kasama na diyan ang mga Romano Katoliko, Greek Orthodox, at sari-saring mga kulto)
  • 0.5% lang ng populasyon ang professing Evangelical
  • 67.6% sa kanila, ni walang access sa pakikinig sa ebanghelyo.

Sa mapa ay kitang-kita rin ang liwanag ng mga mauunlad na lungsod sa Europa; subalit ayon sa 2005 Eurostat Eurobarometer Poll, hindi maikakaila na dilim ang naghahari doon. Ang mga naniniwalang may Diyos ay
  • anim lamang sa bawat sampung katao sa Espanya
  • lima lamang sa bawat sampu sa Germany
  • apat lamang sa bawat sampu sa United Kingdom
  • tatlo lamang sa bawat sampu sa France
  • dalawa lamang sa bawat sampu sa Sweden

Kung meron lang sanang satellite na may kakayahang kumuha ng mga larawan ng ispirituwal na liwanag, makikita na ang pagpapala ng Diyos ay nasa mga dako kung saan nananahan ang kanyang mga tunay na anak. Kung nasaan ang mga sumasampalataya kay Hesus, naroon ang liwanag.

Eph. 5:8
"for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light" (ESV)

Phi. 2:15
"that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,

John 8:12
"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Matt. 5:14-16
"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Apples of Gold in Settings of Silver (09-04-2011)

  On Friendship
"Friendship that includes a common commitment to the gospel is something completely different than friendship without it. I may have cordial relationships with non Christians, but I cannot think of anyone I would call a true friend who is not a fellow believer in Christ."  
~James R. White
 ******************************
 On God's goodness
"He is infinitely good; the creature's good is but a drop; but in God there is an infinite ocean."  
~Thomas Manton
******************************
On spiritual illumination
"both the Father and the Son have absolute control over what revelation is understood, who understands it, and who doesn't." 
~Bruce Ware
******************************
 On the state of evangelicalism
"There are many who call themselves evangelicals who have abandoned either the formal or material principle-- that is sociologically they do belong to a certain kind of club called Evangelical but that does not mean that they hold to any of its historic distinctives or still less to biblically defined priorities." 
~D.A. Carson
******************************
 On General and Special Revelation
"People often say that it is difficult to argue ethical issues from Scripture in a society that does not honor Scripture's authority. But it is even more difficult to argue from natural law. For the natural law is not a written text." 
~John Frame
******************************
On Polemics
"Men tell us that our preaching should be positive and not negative, that we can preach the truth without attacking error. But if we follow that advice we shall have to close our Bible and desert its teachings. The New Testament is a polemic book almost from beginning to end." 
~J. Gresham Machen
******************************
On Influences
"... God wills that we have heroes. Hebrews 13:7 says, "Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith." It seems to me that the Christian leaders today who come closest to being heroes are the ones who had great heroes. I hope you have one or two, living or dead."  
~John Piper

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Soundtrip Sabado (09-03-2011)

Sojourn's reworking of Isaac Watts' hymn
Death Has Lost It's Sting

 

------------------------------------

Gary Granada
Saranggola sa Ulan


------------------------------------
Indelible Grace
O Love That Will Not Let Me Go
A rehash of George Matheson's hymn

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Online Resources I Actually Use (or intend to use)

ONLINE BIBLE SOFTWARE
NET Bible Study Environment
The Online Greek Bible   

BIBLE VERSIONS
New International Version (1984)
New International Version (2011)
New King James Version
New Living Translation
New Jerusalem Bible
BIBLE COMMENTARIES

DICTIONARIES
KJV Dictionary  warning! This is a KJV only site 

THEOLOGY

SERMONS

OTHERS
Precept Austin Collection
e-Catena: Compiled Allusions to the New Teatament in the Ante-Nicene Fathers

Monday, August 29, 2011

"Open my eyes... " (Psalm 119:18)

Cuba Gooding Jr., from the film Radio
 "Open my eyes that I may see
    wonderful things in your law." 
(Psalm 119:18)
 
There is a 41-year gap between the assassination of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln (1865) and the claimed first transmission of audio by broadcasting (1906). Suppose I were alive in 1865 and I live in a remote barrio in Pangasinan, I wonder how long it would take for the news to reach me? I suspect I would not even know that Abraham Lincoln exists.

Last week, when it was announced that Muammar Ghaddafi was wounded due to airstrikes and has fled Tripoli, the news spread quickly. Perhaps by Friday night, almost every Filipino heard about Libya's violent transfer of power.

When in comes to access to knowledge and information, this is a privileged generation. Gone are the days when every studious pupil's dream is to have a set of a multi-volume encyclopedia. Who needs to spend a fortune for a set that will be obsolete within a decade when Google is right before your fingertips?

When it comes to bible study, there are many tools available online: different bible versions, commentaries, dictionaries and expository sermons. A decade ago, if you want to hear the voice of John MacArthur, you have to be content with 20-minute broadcasts every night. Now, audio recordings from his 4-decade ministry is archived and available free of charge. You can even afford to be choosy. If MacArthur is not your type, go to Sermonaudio.com and take your pick.

While we must be thankful for such a privilege, we must also take heed, for this privilege could also be the cause of our downfall. How?

The danger is that we may think that spiritual insight is a common thing. And when something is common, you will not earnestly look for it. No one migrates to the Middle East for sand; we have enough of that in our  beaches. They go there because of job opportunities-- opportunities which are rare here.

But spiritual knowledge has never been common. You can't find in abundance. Spiritual insight was not given to all the families before the great flood but to Noah's family alone. God did not call out everyone from Chaldea, but Abram alone. The law was not given to all the nations, but to Israel alone. In Matt. 11:25, you won't even know God unless he chooses to reveal himself to you.

The first step to acquiring spiritual insight is admitting that we are blind to heavenly truths. Unless we take that first step, we would not plead earnestly before God to open our our eyes. There are many wondrous things in nature: the plants, the beaches, the sky, the rainbow, the butterflies, the smile of infants-- yet what are these things to me if I am blind? In the same way, unless the Lord opens our spiritual eyes, the wondrous things in the word of God will be of no value to us. We may open our bibles with all the tools in our library, but they shall remain as mere paper and ink.

The bottom line is for us to approach God's throne with humility and earnestness. Let us acknowledge that he possesses absolute prerogative to grant or withhold divine knowledge.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Ang Maging Alipin Mo'y Aking Kagalakan

Hindi ko alam ang konteksto ng talumpati ni Patrick Henry na pinagkunan ng pangungusap na ito: "Give me liberty or give me death"-- subalit noon pa man ay inagaw na nito ang pansin ng musmos kong isipan. "Bigyan mo ako ng kalayaan o kung hindi naman ay bigyan mo na lang ako ng kamatayan."

Ang kalayaan ay lubhang pinapahalagahan ng tao. Iyan man ay pambansang kalayaan tulad ng ipinaglaban sa pelikulang Braveheart o personal na kalayaan tulad ng ipinaglaban sa pelikulang Amistad, ang mensaheng hatid: mahalaga ang kalayaan at dapat na maging handa tayo, magtaya man ng buhay makamit lamang ito.

Sa sistema ng pang-aalipin sa panahon ni Moises, hindi kailangang dumanak ang dugo upang maging malaya. Sapagkat kapag ikaw ay binili bilang alipin, hindi ibig sabihin na magiging alipin ka habang-buhay. Ang nakasaad sa batas, maglilingkod ka ng anim na taon at sa ikapito, malaya ka na.

Nakasaad rin sa batas na kung sa pagpasok mo bilang alipin ay may asawa ka, lalabas ka kasama pamilya mo. Kung ikaw ay pumasok bilang binata at sa kagandahang-loob ng iyong amo ay pinagkalooban ka ng asawa, sa iyong paglabas ay maiiwan ang iyong pamilya.

May mga pagkakataon na matapos ang anim na taon, sa halip na sunggaban ng alipin ang pagkakataong lumaya, tatanggihan niya ito alang-alang sa pagmamahal niya sa kanyang amo at pag-ibig niya sa kanyang pamilya. Kung 'yan ang nais ng alipin, siya ay dadaan sa isang seremonya kung saan bubutasan ang kanyang tainga, at siya ay magiging alipin habang-buhay. Ang pagkakaiba, noon ay alipin siya dahil siya ay binili; ngayon ay alipin siya dahil mahal niya ang kanyang amo at ang kanyang pamilya. (Exo. 21:5-6)

Sa panahon ng Bagong Tipan, inangkat ni Apostol Pablo ang konseptong ito. Sa kanyang mga liham ay madalas niyang tawagin ang kanyang sarili bilang alipin ng Diyos: kusang-loob siyang nagpapakaalipin dahil nakita niya na kaibig-ibig ang kanyang Panginoon. (Rom.1:1; Gal. 1:10; Titus 1:1)

Ano nga ba ang mga dahilan kung bakit kaibig-ibig ang Panginoon na ating pinaglilingkuran? Siyempre marami 'yan at hindi natin kayang banggitin lahat. Subalit tatangkain kong maglista ng ilan.

Una, siya ay perpekto sa lahat ng kanyang katangian. Kung ang mga alipin ay may mga nasusumpungang kanais-nais na mga katangian sa kanilang mga amo dito sa ibabaw ng lupa, eh 'di higit pang kahanga-hanga ang mga katangian ng ating amo na nasa langit. Perpekto siya sa kanyang pag-ibg; perpekto sa kabaitan, perpekto sa kabutihan, perpekto sa katarungan, perpekto sa kanyang pag-uugali. 'Yan ang among masarap paglingkuran.

Pangalawa, isipin natin kung gaano kahalaga ang kanyang ginamit upang mabili tayo. Hindi pilak o ginto ang ipinambili niya sa atin kundi sa pamamagitan ng buhay ng kanyang anak na si Kristo. Walang kapantay sa halaga ang kanyang dugo na itinigis sa krus upang mapasakanya lamang tayo. (1 Cor. 6:20; 1 Ped.1:18-19)

Kaya naman ang wika ng Apostol Pablo sa 2 Cor. 5:15:

"Siya'y namatay para sa lahat, upang ang mga nabubuhay ay huwag nang mabuhay pa para sa kanilang mga sarili, kundi para sa kanya na alang-alang sa kanila ay namatay at muling nabuhay."

Pangatlo
, isipin natin ang dati nating kalagayan bago tayo maging alipin ng Diyos. Noon pa man ay mga alipin na tayo-- yun nga lamang ang pinaglilingkuran natin ay hindi ang Diyos kundi ang kasalanan (Roma 6:6). Lahat ng tao, anuman ang kalagayan sa buhay-- siya man ay nakatira sa palasyo o nananahan bilang iskuwater; siya man ay nakaupo sa trono o nagwawalis sa kalye, lahat sila ay mga alipin. Ang tanong lamang ay kung kanino ka naglilingkod, sa Diyos ba o sa kasalanan?

Purihin natin ang Diyos sapagkat nang tayo ay maging mga alipin niya, naging malaya tayo sa ating naunang amo na si Kasalanan. Hindi na tayo mananatili sa walang kabuluhang pamumuhay. Nagkaroon ng kulay at saysay ang mga buhay natin.(1 Ped. 1:18)

Pang-apat, nang binili tayo ng Panginoon upang kanyang maging mga alipin, tayo man ay binigyan niya ng pamilya: mga kapatid sa pananampalataya na kaagapay natin sa lakad-ispirituwal at sila nga ay napamahal na sa atin. (Efe.2:19)

Bukod diyan, sa pamilyang ito, yung ating Amo mismo ang tumatayo bilang Ama. Bagamat siya ay mataas bilang Panginoon at tayo ay mababa bilang mga alipin, inangkin at itinuring na niya tayo bilang mga anak. Ang lahat ng mga karapatan ng mga anak ay ipinagkaloob na niya sa atin dahil sa ating pananalig kay Hesus (John 1:12).

May mga pagkakataon na nahihirapan tayo na tupdin ang ipinagagawa ng ating Amo. Parang mahirap sabihin na "Opo, Panginoon". Subalit tandaan natin na sa mga oras na 'yan ay maaari rin tayong lumapit sa kanya at ibulong, "Aking Ama, tulungan mo akong upang aking magampanan ang mga bagay na pinagagawa mo sa akin."

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

"Maung Kumon nu Maksil lan lanang so Duweg yo"

A Tribute to my Parents on their 51st Wedding Anniversary

Hulyo 20, 1960 so agew na bansal nen Bernabe Rosario tan si Emeliana Ambanloc. Mairap so mangigapo na pamilya ed kapegleyay irap na bilay, balet lapud panangaro, impanengneng dan dua so seet tan anos.

Say kaulop nen Ben nu agew et say kabayon manguguyor na karomata. Sanagew ya ungkarera si Ben, balet makakaakis no bilangen toy nalmo to ta melmelag. Naksawan la balet agni manpainawa si Ben; manggaway taburiti ed amblilonget ya labi.

Tinawir nen Eliang so anapan nen nanay ton Pacing. Agto toy bigao ta manutunog na palitaw tan bitso-bitso.

Ompian agla masyadon undokey so istorya et agko la bitlaen so arum ya anapan ya sinali da. Ag ko met la bitlaen so sari-sarin krisis ya pinmapata ed sikara

Diad panangasi na Diyos, inpaalagey so CENPELCO ed baranggay mi. Nannigosyo si amak tan inak na pakanan. Nen si Manny, Brenda tan Bernard so ugugaw, ag kami met mayaman balet ag mi la alikna may irap ya bilay ya iistoryaen na saray inmuunan anak: Cresenciana, Imelda, Virginia, Arnelio tan Araceli.

Inminawan daiset so bilay, balet aga abawasan so kuli, seet tan anos na sanasawa. Lapud masimpit irad panagbilay da, kanepegan labat ya mampasnok ira no agkami masimpit.

Agko la nanunutan no antoy atrasok ta masyado ak nin ugaw nen agawa ya. Nayarin say atrasok et pinirdik labat so baaw ya bungay linget nen tatay ko ed panagdalos; nayari met ya say atrasok et nangastos ak lalamet ed asingger ya garita-- agko lan talaga nanunutan. Balet say malinew et imbano na masimpit kon nanay so maabak ya panagbilay ko. Diad pasnok to et walay nibesngaw ton agko nalingwanan. Say kuwan to: "Maung kumon nu maksil lan lanang so duweg yo."

Nen nangel ko man et masyado ak nin ugaw. Agko antay talos to. Balet aga abalang ed kanunutan ko man ya inbalikas da: "Maung kumon nu maksil lan lanang so duweg yo."

Unaakar so panaon; say ugaw ya Manny et umbabaleg. Syimpri, untutubo met so kalakal to. Daiset-daiset, singano natatalusan ko la may imbaga da.

Sakey agew, immasingger ak ed nanay ko. Sa tepet ko: "Nanay, panagbayar lay tuition fee. Wala'y ibayar tayo?". Say ebat nen nanay, "Wala, alangan ya anggapo." Antak balet ya sikara et mansingil ni na saray pinapakan dan impliyado na CENPELCO, ya nu ag ira makasingil ed makalmo niray kasebeg da. Linmoob ak ed iskwilaan ya pinunot ko'y sagpot na ateng mi ompian napan-aral so waluran anak. Diman ed library, binukay koy libro balet agko lan lamang natatalusan so babasaen ko. Manterter so luwak ed bulong na libro kanyan inkupit ko la laingen san inpawil ko ed pananginan. Linma ak ed sukong, diman ko inyibong so luwak.

Sakey ed saray teger ko kanyan linmoob ak ed The Virginian (student publication na VMUF) et samay melag ya discount ompian makatulong ak ed ateng ko. Binmayag, anengneng ko ya amay posisyon ko et maaibig ya usaren ko ompian labanan iray corrupt ya miyimbro na faculty na iskwilaan, saramay kukuwartaan da ray istudyante. Inlaban ko saray ateng na istudyante, ya mansasagpot agew-agew ompian napan-aral so anak da.

Nen agew ya nasumpal ak la ed panag-aral, wala met kalamor so melag ya award ko-- "With Distinction". Diman intablado, saray sasabitay midalya et kaulop day ateng da. Sinmegep ak met kaulop koy Tatay Ben san Nanay Eliang. Nen isabit la nen Prisidinti Ma. Lilia Posadas-Juan may midalya ed siak, binanok-- say kuwan ko "HUWAG". Say tepet na abiglan Prisidinti, "BAKIT?" Tepet met so ebat ko: "Puwede bang sa Tatay ko na lang". Nen unaan et ag labay nen Tatay balet si Prisidinti mismo so amasuot ed sikato. Diad iteterter na luwak ed agko la anengneng so kalupaan na saray tutoo. Say istorya na saray akaimaton, wala ray uneelek balet wala met iray unaakis.

Bulan na Abril man so ingkasumpal kod aral. Unaan na simba na Hunyo nen asabi lamay agew-- abalang lay kasil na sakey ya duweg. Na-stroke si Nanay. Paralisado la. Nanlapud saman, agak la nan-anap na trabaho. Anggad natan et aasikasoen ko may duweg ya nen saman et maksil balet natan et akarukol labi man o agew.