Saturday, June 17, 2006

Answer to Prayers

Answer to Prayers

“Jesus answered them, ‘Have faith in God.  I assure you that whoever tells this hill to get up and throw itself in the sea and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him.  For this reason, I tell you:  when you pray and ask for something, believe that you have received it, and you will be given whatever you ask for.”  (Mark 11:23)

For me, this is Christ’s greatest teaching on prayer.  Once again, we see the teaching re-affirmed that God answers prayer.  

What is my personal experience on prayer?  I depend on prayer for everything.  I depend on God’s light and guidance for every step everyday.   I pray for God’s peace, provision, protection, power, purpose and pardon.  If I enjoyed these favors yesterday as I did, it is a result of answered prayer.  If God does not answer prayer, why waste my time praying for these favors everyday for many years?

How about those times when a prayer  has apparently not been answered?  If a favor has not been granted at the time I wanted it, I keep asking for it.  If this “something” is for me, God will maintain the desire.  Every true desire is a prayer, says St. Augustine.  But if the  “something” is not for me, God will withdraw the desire.  God does not always let me know that a prayer has been answered at the time he grants the favor.  Sometimes a prayer is answered and it takes a while for me to realize that the favor has been granted.  When I become aware, I give thanks.

God himself affirms in scripture that he is a God who answers prayer.  It is true.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The king on a donkey

The king on a donkey

“Many people spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches in the fields and spread them on the road.  The people who were in front and those who followed behind began to shout, “Praise God!  God bless him who comes in the name of the Lord!  God bless the coming kingdom of King David, our father!  Praise God.” (Mark 11: 8 – 10)

The above scripture incites us to reflect on the kingship of Jesus Christ.  What a humble king!  A king entering his capital city not in a limousine but as it were in a cheap used car.  He is followed not by a retinue of high government officials, ambassadors with the military providing marshal music but by common people.  

Is this an isolated paradox in Christ’s earthly life?  Not at all.  We have seen this paradox in his birth in a manger.  We see it during his scourging and humiliation in the court of Pilate.  Finally, the King was crucified and died between two thieves.

Clearly, Christ did not come to establish an earthly and worldly kingdom with pumps and pageantry.  His kingdom on earth is marked by simplicity and commonality.   “The manner of living is ordinary.”  This is the will of God.  This is the kingdom of God which I am committed to serve.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

I want to see

I want to see

“What do you want me to do for you?’  Jesus asked him.  ‘Teacher,’ the blind man answered, ‘I want to see again.’  ‘Go,’ Jesus told him, ‘your faith has made you well.’  At once he was able to see and followed Jesus on the way.” (Mark 10: 51 – 52)

Lord Jesus, I am in desperate need of your help, of your resources in my life at this moment.  I am conscious that I need deep faith, patience, wisdom and humility.  I also need a very strong desire to see your will fully accomplished in my life.  Lord, you ask me this morning, “What do you want me to do for you?”  Lord I feel inspired by Bartimaeus to answer:  “Lord I want to see.”  I want to see your presence in my life.  I want to see life through your eyes.  I want to see the Church as you see her.  I want to see my family as you see them.  I want to see people as you see them.  Lord I want to see.  I want to see my situation today as you see it.  Lord Jesus, make me see.

Bartimaeus believed that Jesus could make him see again.  He was insistent in his demand, undeterred by opposition, delays and obstacles.  I want to imitate Bartimaeus.  Result:  “Your faith has made you well.”

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Divine Arrangements

Divine Arrangements

“There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens.  A time to be born, and a time to die.” (Ecclesiastes 3: 1 – 2)

God’s loving, wise and powerful providence operates through the cosmic cycles, times and seasons or divine arrangements.  Just as there are cycles of planting and harvesting, there are also cycles of poverty and riches and of health and sickness.

What is the purpose of the divine arrangements?  The law of divine providence implies that the cosmic cycles work positively for man.  God is saving man through every event, every circumstance whether positive or negative.   The cosmic cycles exist to serve man.  In the divine arrangement, no condition is permanent.

Today, the Enterprise is in a critical phase and I am cheered by the thought that God’s loving providence is directing it step by step and moment by moment.  I suffer delays but how wonderful it is to realize that this does not escape God’s providence.  “How great you are, O Lord my God!  How wonderful are your ways!   How good to remember that all things work together for good for those who love you.”  Delays, obstacles and disappointments are working marvelously for me.  This is God’s divine arrangements, his word and not the word of man.  It is the truth.  I accept it with faith.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

There is a time for everything

There is a time for everything

“To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Another translation says “Everything that happens in this world happens at the time God chooses.”  It is a most comforting scripture to know that our God is completely in control of all events in this world.  He has set his time for everything.  Waiting for the right time is exercising patience.  How difficult this could be at times.  Sometimes we are pressured to think that unless it happens now, it will be too late.  But scripture says that God’s salvation could never be late.  

Christ’s reaction to pressure and crisis is always calmness.  To the anxious plea:  ‘Come right now.   My child is dying’, or ‘O come before it is too late.”  His answer is always the same:  ‘I will come when I will come.’  Jesus lives the truth:   “To everything there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Monday, June 12, 2006

Kingdom Principles

Kingdom  Principles

“You know that the men who are considered rulers of the heathen have power over them, and the leaders have complete authority.  This, however, is not the way it is among you.  If one of you wants to be great, he must be the servant of the rest; and if one of you wants to be first, he must be the slave of all.  For even the Son of Man did not come to be served; he came to serve and to give his life to redeem many people.”  (Mark 10: 42 – 45)

The message is clear:  Ambition in the kingdom is aspiration to be where God wants me to be.  It is desire to serve as God wants us to serve.   It is to be the last if necessary in the eyes of the world.  To be the slave of everyone.   To imitate Jesus who came to serve and to give his life to redeem many people.  It is a standard that is different from that of the world.   But this is the order of things in the kingdom.

The world esteems masters, bosses, teachers, firsts and despises servants, subjects, learners, lasts.  But in the eyes of God, these are the esteemed.

Lord Jesus, I know what you want of me from today’s word.  I am disposed to obey you in this.  I ask for  wisdom and humility so that I can live these principles.  

Sunday, June 11, 2006

What is my cross?

What is my cross?
“Listen, we are going up to Jerusalem where the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law.  They will condemn him to death and then hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him, spit on him, whip him, and kill him.; but three days later he will rise to life.”  (Mark 10: 33)

Yesterday I believed and enjoyed Christ’s promise of life in the kingdom:  He who leaves all and follows Jesus “will receive much more in this present  age.”  Whatever was left behind “for  Christ and for the gospel,”  the person will receive a hundred times more.    But with persecutions.  Today Christ elaborated the aspect of this persecution as applied to him:
  • Condemnation to death

  • Handing over to the gentiles

  • Mocking

  • Flogging

  • Crucifixion and death

This is Christ’s cross through which he saved the world.  What is my cross?  If only I could carry one day’s cross at a time, I will surely win.   I regard my cross today as small:  slight health problem and waiting for the fulfillment of Christ’s promise to me.   Jesus did not only foretell his passion and death, he also foretold his resurrection.  Because I trust in Jesus, I can also foretell my victory with confidence.