He Is (at 32:45)

Old notes taken mostly from my personal time with God. We're moving house again, so, I guess we're back to being, literally, pilgrims on the Rough Roads of Planet Earth. (Photo taken on a road to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, North Auckland, NZ, Dec 2009.)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Homily from a Friend's Precious Life


2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
Monarch butterfly photo from monarch-butterfly.info/








Monarch caterpillar on a Swan tree; photo taken for my daughter's science class.

I had a lady friend in Kuala Lumpur who was studying Law in one of the colleges there. She had very fair skin, a sweet face, a heart-warming smile, a friendly and happy personality - a typical Filipino-Spanish mix beauty. Just like most attractive teenagers like her she went through turbulent teens and a colourful, exciting love-life. Finally, after a few heartaches, she found the love of her life, the man of her dreams, someone best-suited for her I would say, and they got married. They had a blissful honeymoon season and patiently they waited for a baby to complete their circle of love. Soon, she conceived and was so bubbly and excited over this beautiful soul growing in her womb. She planned, read up and psyched herself up on continuing work and studies while being pregnant, which included preparing for a final exam soon after the baby’s birth, so that she and her baby would cope through the workload together. Husband and wife celebrated Christmas and New Year with that extra glow brought by the expectations of a beautiful child coming their way very soon. She grew really big and round and her baby’s kicks kept her awake and she got all the more excited over him! She and her husband got a beautiful name for their baby, knowing that it’s a boy, as the doctor had told them. They put up photos of his ultra-sound images in their FB profiles, and friends ogled at his likeness with his dad. Soon my friend was thinking of post-natal care for herself and her precious babe and they held a lovely Baby Shower at the end of her 35th week. And then the news came.... At the Baby Shower something went awfully wrong, my friend was rushed to the hospital and suddenly, Mom and child were gone, swept away to the clouds by angels, leaving behind a shattered and lonely Dad…and loads of devastated friends and loved ones asking, “Why, why, why?” and especially, "Why now?"

I was numbed by the news and my heart was crying, "Why now, just when she was so happy with her life, her husband, her coming baby?" It is times like this that really bring me so humbled, I come face to face with the reality that there is a Sovereign God who holds all things in His hands. We never can take life for granted. We never can take our loved ones for granted. What a lesson this friend’s life teaches me and my family. Her life is like a homily to me, and so are the words she used to describe herself in her Facebook profile: “I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.” Just when she seems to have figured it out, or got unto the right track to happiness with a loving husband, God says it’s time to leave, together with her little son as well. I do not understand it all, or even at all, but I know my friend (albeit not very close to me), is one person who lived life to the full and had brought joy to the lives of others. She was a beautiful person who will always be remembered. May I always remember the message her life speaks to me: Always be thankful for the life and loved ones you have. Never take those blessings for granted.

With Easter Sunday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus today, the hope of our resurrection as believers takes center stage, with the departure of my friend and her son. One day, I have this blessed Hope that I will not only see Jesus, "the resurrection and the life," but also my friend and her precious baby. It is the living relationship my friend had with Jesus which gives me the blessed assurance that she too will be resurrected, with her unborn child who’s covered by the grace of God - for being a child and unborn - and I will still be able to see them face to face and rejoice with them in God’s presence in Eternity. Oh, what a blessed Hope indeed!

The forgiveness of sins wrought by Jesus at the cross in our behalf continues to baffle many to this day. Many think that if we ask for forgiveness from God of our sins now, and promise not to sin again, it is of no use for we all know we will sin again, even with exactly the same sin, tomorrow, if not the next moment itself. So, many people think they can just reserve repentance to the last moment before they die, for then that would ensure it erases all their sins of a lifetime and that way they can be with God in Heaven, instead of suffer retribution in Hell for a life of sin. This is the part of the picture of the Resurrection of Jesus which many miss: When we ask for forgiveness of our sins we also need to ask Jesus to give us His Holy Spirit at that very moment, so the Holy Spirit can give us the supernatural power not to sin again. And when we have asked, we must believe by faith that we have been forgiven and have received the Holy Spirit. However, the Holy Spirit’s presence in us cannot survive without being fed spiritually. And that food is the regular time we spend with God. If we do not feed on the Bible every day by reading and meditating on it, we will lose God’s guidance and the Holy Spirit will soon find our carnal and sinful way of life too stifling and He would leave us. So, we need to have that habit of confessing our wrong-doings daily, and communing with the Holy Spirit by reading the Bible and praying, to keep us from sin and keep us in a living relationship with God, which is Eternal Life itself.

Many people think Eternal Life only begins after our bodies die. Actually, Jesus Himself said Eternal Life is knowing God. That means getting to know God by walking with Him daily, listening to Him and communing with Him. It is this daily communion with God by prayer and meditation on His word that brings us a new life, a spiritual rebirth. And this is made possible only by the Resurrection of Jesus. The same power that God the Father used to raise Jesus from the dead is at work to raise us from our life of sin to a life of obedience and peace with Him. This is God’s intention for resurrecting His own Son, that we too might have new life in Him! This is the most important facet of the Resurrection of Jesus which we all must embrace for it gives us the reality of a changed life and also eternal salvation from sin, which we all have, for all men are sinners.

Ponder how a drug addict suddenly turns around when he receives the Gospel of Jesus. Sometimes they become so radically changed they even become pastors, preachers, teachers, workers of healings and miracles, in Jesus name! Ponder how battered wives / mothers are able to rise from their circumstances and live a life of victory and joy despite the pain they have gone through, after they meet Jesus. Ponder how abused children are able to rise above the pain and misery of their childhood and become joyful and hopeful individuals, after they surrender their lives to Jesus. Ponder how broken marriages are healed and families restored, after the couples concerned bring themselves to the feet of Jesus and receive forgiveness, counseling, prayer and healing. Ponder, ponder, ponder. I can go on and on with numerous examples, but in all these changed lives, we must recognize Jesus and the power of His resurrection at work in the lives of these individuals. Such is the power of the Resurrection of Jesus. So, let us not leave for tomorrow what we can do today. For we never can tell how soon we would depart – just like the precious souls of my friend and her beloved son. We need to be ready every moment (and I’m comforted with the thought that my friend was). Let’s ask for the forgiveness of our sins from God, even first for only those we know or can recall (for He will continue to show us the rest later on). Let us also ask God the Father to give us His Holy Spirit to strengthen and guide us, and let us start meditating on the Bible, to feed our minds and spirit, so we can remain in that Eternal Life relationship with the Holy Spirit. Today we celebrate the Resurrection. Today let us begin the life of a resurrected spiritual life in Christ!

A blessed Easter Sunday to all!

References:

John 11
25Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"

John 17:3 Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

Ephesians 1: 18-21

18I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, 20which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.

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The Many Versions of Love Stories 1. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, kiss and marry. They live happily ever after. 2. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, kiss and marry. The marriage sours, they part, and live happily ever after. 3. Boy meets girl, they fall in love, kiss and marry. Then boy finds out it's more fun to be girl... or girl finds out it's more fun to be boy, they part, change sexes and live happily ever after. 4.Finally, boy or girl meets God. It's love at first sight... The roads went rough, the tides rose high, the strong winds blew and the quake shook the ground... but they truly live happily ever after, forever and ever. 5. Try God's love... it's always happy forever after, and the story never ends. :-D