The stonewalled rice terraces of Mayoyao, Ifugao Philippines are breathtaking and inspires awe. More than the landscape, it was there where I met ladies who showed me true inner beauty. Let me share to you three encounters I had.
First, an elderly lady was waiting for the church to open early Sunday morning. I was informed that she had to travel on foot in the dark over three mountains in order to arrive early for the Sunday Service. She inspired me to hunger and thirst for the Word of God and to value the freedom we have in assembling for God’s glory.
Second, after I preached, another elderly lady approached me and handed me an old crumpled twenty peso bill. Knowing well that money was scarce in that place (people there practiced barter trade), my initial thought was to reject the offering. However, the Lord stopped me with the words. “Do not deprive her of her blessings.” I received it and prayed for a mighty blessings upon her. I realized that obedience to the leading of the Lord and generosity is not subjected to circumstances.
Third, an illiterate woman caught my attention as she quoted scriptures. Knowing that she couldn’t read nor write, I asked how she learned the Holy Scriptures. Accordingly, she heard the Biblical references directly from the Lord during her lone moments working on mountains. She committed to memory the words of God. Aside from the awesomeness of the supernatural experiences she had, it may realize how precious are the Words of God. May we all learn to keep the bread of life in our hearts, meditating on it day and night.
Now that the restrictions are steadily being eased and we are allowed to meet again to worship the Lord together, there are still those who are not enthused to come. We totally respect those who are still cautious and we’ll not force anybody. However, there are those who simply got used to the comfort of their homes, conveniently being served through live stream services. There are those who go from one channel to the next, being stuffed with the spiritual Internet buffet. Sadly, there are those who lost their connection to the local church family. Much worse, some have backslidden and their hearts have grown cold to the Lord.
Let none of us be like the nine lepers who didn’t come back to thank Jesus. The Lord has kept us thus far from this pandemic, it is but right to thank Him publicly in the mids of the congregation.
No more excuses
A fellow countrywoman walked up to me after service asking for prayer for her driver’s license test. As if I needed some convincing to pray for her, she said that if she passes the test and gets her own driver’s license, she won’t be dependent anymore on her German husband to bring her to church. “Pastor”, she said, “if I get my own driver’s license, then I can come to church regularly.” Needless to say, it was music to my ears so I prayed for God’s favor upon her request. Ironically, that was the about the last time I saw her in our church.
After three years since I prayed for her, we bumped into each other in a mall. It took some time for her to recognize me. I asked her what happened to her driver’s license test to which she replied, “Oh yes, I passed it.” Having heard the update for the first time, my follow-up question was about her pronouncement of coming to church regularly when the Lord answers her prayer. Disappointingly, she fell in line with the countless of people who utter the usual lame excuse, “I’m busy”.
Having been in ministry for many years, I’ve learned not to take it personally and have accepted it as simply part of the territory. It is not unusual for people to go into great lengths to get in touch with me when they are in desperate need to ask for help and prayers. Some make promises and oaths to the Lord if their plea is granted. Unfortunately, not all keep their word.
Sadly, people tend to easily forget God when everything is well. Just like the Israelites who were so relieved when the Red sea closed in on the chariots of Egypt. Psalm 106:12 tells us that they believed God and sang praises in thanksgiving for the miraculous deliverance. However, the next verse says: “They soon forgot His works…”
Jesus had a similar experience after healing ten lepers and only one of them returned to give thanks (Luke 17:11-19). He asked: “Were there not ten who got cleansed? But where are the nine?”
Let us thank God especially now that we’ve survived the first half of 2020. Moreover, let us continue to persevere and love the Lord more passionately. Let us have an intense focus in fulfilling our divine destiny and set our minds on things above. Thank God for Divine Protection.
We thank God for His grace upon all of us as we come to the end of the first half of 2020. As a church family, we praise the Lord in thanksgiving for protecting and providing for us. We are all alive and well, having thus far survived the pandemic. Some among us got sick and some were challenged financially yet God’s healing grace and divine provision came at the right time. Although the pandemic is not yet over, restrictions are steadily being eased and many are understandably eager to go shopping and dine out. It is wise to heed the advice to maintain the precautionary measures. Moreover, may the reminder continually ring in our hearts never to forget that we are living by God’s grace. May each one not neglect to give thanks to God for answering our prayers.
As we prepare to enter the second half of this extraordinary year, let us obey the Lord’s command to “go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” The Great Commission is actually possible as the highly digitized world is literally in our finger tips. The global lockdown forced people to do business, study, worship, socialize, and be entertained in the world wide web. Internet traffic increased and demand for online services soared. The world is now in the Internet. Our Online Services have gone much further passing beyond the geographical boundaries. Our recent Online Prophetic Training School had students from different parts of Germany, USA, as well as Central America.
Knowing that it is the Lord’s grace that have kept us alive and well, let us accelerate our spiritual pace as we reach out to the world before this significant year comes to an end.
Victorious greetings in the Lord’s name in the midst of this pandemic. Definitely 2020 will stand out in the history books. Whether in earthly libraries or in the heavenly courts, the question is: “What will be written of us as a church and you as an individual?” How did we behave? What did we do? We’ve sung the song of Delirious but now is the time to actually be a “History Maker”. Given this very unique opportunity to be the salt and light in this unprecedented time, may each one of us fulfill our function in the Body of Christ and be the visible representation of the invisible God in our generation.