I was speechless while watching CNN yesterday morning during one of their reports on deaths caused by natural calamities.

It was staggering to realize that in Dec 2004 when the great tsunami hit and claimed approx 225,000 lives – that the total recorded deaths of the first half of 2008 surpassed had already exceeded that.  The tally for the 1st months of 2008 has reached 229,000 deaths.

2008 is not yet over and I wonder how many more precious lives would be claimed.

Earthquakes in China and in other parts, massive flooding in India, Bangladesh and Caribbean and United States…. and still many more people are unreached without any help from the flood victims of Myanmar whose government is too proud to receive help.  And people are still dying and the resources are dwindling and the world economies are melting along with the polar ice-caps.

These are indeed sobering times.

It is difficult to look and watch for any interesting and encouraging news item on any broadcasting channels worldwide.  It seems as if the whole world is just being tossed and fro from one bad news to the next and it seems that there is no respite in sight.

The whole world is in agony right now.

And our only hope in this very discouraging times is Christ alone.

May we know you more in these times of trouble and difficulties.

May we put our confidence and trust in you alone despite what we see and hear.

May our eyes see how you are going to redeem these painful circumstances that we are all going through.

May our eyes be ever fixed on Jesus who is the Alpha and the Omega.

In your precious name,

AMEN

Advertisements

Every now and then I would send a “hello how are you doing these days?” offline/online message to my college best friend.  From time to time, he would also drop me a line or two.

Well recently, he immediately answered my IM and asked me to pray for his job interview on the 23rd.

“You are applying for a new job?”

“Yes, I am going to be interviewed for the position of CIO!”

Whoaaaa…. CIO ( Chief Information Officer!)

I still shake my head in amazement. Not because he cannot do the job, but how simply amazing God is and how He lovingly and quietly works in our lives.

Ron was my roommate during my freshman year.  We were exact opposites.  I was working on my second degree and really determined to do well, while he was, fresh from highschool and still figuring out what to do and how to impress the girls.

I got to know his family when he invited me over for Winter Break during our sophomore year.  I can still remember the long drive and how my stomach, mysteriously hurt like hell when we arrived in Harrisburg on our way to Buffalo.

I remember one evening after dinner, he started putting on his thick jacket and I asked “are you going out to get a movie at Blockbuster?”  “Nah, I just want to go out for a walk…maybe you should come walk with me…”

His mom then sprung into her motherly ways and started handing out 4 jackets to me to make sure i will survive the walk. “You are from the Philippines and this weather might be too extreme for you – so go ahead, wear this, wear this and this…”

We walked out and I was looking like the Michelin man with all the thick jackets.  But Ron was still quiet and I knew something was up.

” I might not be able to go back next year…”

“Go back where?”

“To college…” he answered as we were walking down this deserted road somewhere.

“My grades are terrible… and I am on probation list…”

That was the first time it hit me – that if he did not do well in school the next coming weeks, I might lose my bestfriend and that really was something I was not prepared to experience.

When we got back to school, I religously followed him up on his exams, assignments and papers. It was a small college and we had similar classes so it was relatively easy to do that. I did not want to lose my bestfriend sitting down – so we studied together and helped memorized 200 scriptures for the Fundamentals of Theology class.

I remember one night when we were struck by the realization that the answers to our questions would have to rely on FAITH.  All our what if questions about God led us to that place where only FAITH can fill up.  And for the first time (last time as well) we prayed together and placed our dependence on God.

Fast forward 3 years after Graduation and I attended Promise Keepers in Dallas with him. He just clearly obliged me since he was my host.

2002 – he paid for my ticket and I flew on my birthday to join him in Hongkong where he was stationed for 1 week. He was already working for this company that has started sending him all over the world.

We were supposed to meet in Manila early this year – but I cautioned him with his financial spending since his wife will be giving birth.  He agreed and just worked in SIngapore until his project was done.

And now, he is going to be interviewed for the position of CIO!

The same guy who almost flunked out of college is about to be the CIO of this multinational company with branches in every continent.

The same guy who in college, could not even decently use a personal computer, is now taking care of different structures, platforms, network architectures and so many more.

Many years later, I find it a blessing that two things have remained:

1. Our friendship

2. Our need for prayers from each other.

On October 23rd midnight, i will be praying again for him because that is his interview time in New York.

My boothmate in Booth 1010 during my freshman year, is about to become a Chief Information Officer!

Thank you God for what you have done in my friend’s life.  Thank you for blessing him. Thank you for the love you have given him through his parents, siblings and now his wife and children. Bless him Lord. As you use him in the corporate world, I pray that you will also gently whisper to him, that you would like him to serve you in the Church as well…

Please grant him this huge favor of becoming a CIO.  He knows that he cannot do this on his own.

Allow him to become a CIO for your divine use and purpose.

I surrender him and his dreams in your precious hands.

In Jesus Name,

AMEN

ABS-CBN news reported last night that there has been an increase of filipino families not eating 3 meals a day. In recent nights, they had also reported that crime against property has significantly increased when compared with other crimes.

The recent spate of crimes are becoming economically driven.

I could only give a quizzical look over those news items where people were lining up to buy the latest 3G iPhone. They sold more than 11million units in the early days of opening sale. Lines upon lines of people were willing to do it just to hold in their hands, the most prized gadget in months.

Sometimes it makes me wonder, when is the breaking point?

As more and more people worldwide are feeling the heavy blows of economic recession/depression/inflation and unbelievable rising cost of everything, everybody’s question is until when? When will this stop? When will things go back to normal?

An aunt from the US emailed and said they are bracing for a possible economic depression. There is an on-going consumer-led recession right now in the US and corporations are seeing a big slump in their profits because people are buying less. (Buying less because of the lesser value of their money, as has been the case here)

Earlier I said I gave the iPhone news item a quizzical look. I feel like there are certain parts of the world that has subjectively closed their eyes on the plight of the people. Life goes on in certain places where the economic recession is still quite a long way. The rest of the oil-dependent countries are reeling with these realities while the price of fuel in the Middle East ( Saudi Arabia) per liter is just about P5! Imagine that, the price of liter of gasoline is cheaper than a piece of Kalihim bread in the local bakery!

5.00 PHP

=

0.112082 USD

Philippines Pesos United States Dollars
1 PHP = 0.0224165 USD 1 USD = 44.6100 PHP

http://www.xe.com/ucc/convert.cgi

What an imbalance. Even the Pope in his talks said that we have squandered the earth’s resources. Kofi Annan said that it is the impoverished people of Africa and Asia who are the front-liners in the effects of the global climate change as these countries are very dependent on food production and agriculture.

I have been scouring for news items and things that would show that even our local government cares about the people. That there are programs in place, actions being done and officials rushing to create policies so that many more impoverished people would be helped.

When is the breaking point?

Romans 8:18-28 (New International Version)

New International Version (NIV)Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

Future Glory

18I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. 20For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that[a] the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.

22We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has? 25But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

26In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. 27And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.

More Than Conquerors

28And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,[b] who[c] have been called according to his purpose.

Powerful words. Powerful words of encouragement. While we may suffer still, there is a point when all of these things will stop and we will be liberated from decay and bondage. V28 is a statement that must be taken in faith and by faith especially as we go through difficult times. This the OBJECTIVE REALITY.

1. God is at work for the good.

2. God is at work for the good of those who love him.

3. God is at work for the good of those who love and are called according to His purpose.

Hang in there. God hears your cries. God is not a God who is un-moved by the plight of His children. His heart breaks when we suffer because He loves us so much. But when we look at the pain and suffering in our lives, we may only be seeing the small piece of the whole masterpiece, yet God sees the whole thing in completion.

He is with us in our difficulties, and yet, He has already seen us as conquerors.

Another inspiring scripture is

4 Even to your old age and gray hairs
I am he, I am he who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

Let us hang on to God’s words. While every circumstances and situations may dissuade us from holding on to the word of God, I pray that God would enable us to trust more, believe more, hope more, and when necessary, endure more.

Until we see how God has redeemed what we have been through.

In Jesus’ name,

AMEN