Wildfires in Australia

February 10, 2009

The fires are still blazing and 141 people have died.  Many of them still trapped in their cars as they were trying to escape.

Very horrendous and suspicions have been raised as to the real cause of these fires.  Firefighters were really stunned to discover that some of the fires already put out weeks ago were again ablazed by arsonists.

It is expected that there will be more casualties when this tragedy is over.

Please save the people.  Lord God please send a powerful rain to douse the fire in Australia.  They are going through the hot summer months and everything within miles are so dry that it could just literally flare up.

Please comfort the families who tragically lost their loved ones.

Lord God, have mercy and rescue those who are still very much threatened by the spreading bush fires.

” Would I Be Enough?”

January 7, 2009

Driving home late one evening, about 2 weeks before Christmas 2008, I felt a stirring within me.  I was having a quiet driving conversation with the Lord and I was telling the Lord how Christmas has become a season for self-centeredness and consumerism.

How it was easy to lose the real reason of the season when the preparation of the heart involves looking at physical gifts, expensive gadgets and awesome parties, to name a few.

Since I was talking with the Lord, I asked the Lord what gift He would give me.

I started naming those gadgets I had been salivating for quite some time now:

Xperia – yes Lord, that is such a nice phone and wow all the features are really good.

OMNIA – wow Lord that is also nice..

iPhone – that one too… wow just one of those cool nifty gadgets and I knew it would be a real awesome break!

But then I felt the Lord asking me a question:  ” If I were to come wrapped in a present, WOULD I BE ENOUGH AS A GIFT?”

There was a pause.  “Am I Enough?”

The following morning, I shared this conversation with Wifey over breakfast. It was a very powerful reminder that the real reason for the season is not those cool laptops, cellphones, parties etc… the real reason is JESUS HIMSELF.  He is the gift.

Little did I know that when the Lord asked me that question, He was already preparing me or giving me what I would need as we experienced what I have called “the bleakest period” of my life in recent years.

The huge problem is still not over.  I can already begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I was asked by a friend how I was doing and that simple question became such a profound question that it literally hurt inside as I tried to answer the simple question.

On the eve of Christmas day, I found myself staring at the horrors of pride and un-forgiveness.  Pride does hurt and makes the righteous fall. Unforgiveness makes one sink deeper than what is imaginable.

I remember driving home with Wifey a little past midnight… with tears literally blinding my eyes.  And as I drove, I heard the question “Am I Enough? Am I enough?” being asked of me.  It was not asked in a condemnatory way but I knew that answering that question would give me the strength to make it through the deepest valleys.

As each day slowly progressed, as each painful moment was slowly played out – I found myself answering “Yes, you are enough!  Yes, you are enough!

I didn’t want anything else. I didn’t long for the parties and the sumptious dinners.  No I did not want anything else – not even the solution to our dilemma. I only wanted Christ.

On Christmas day, like a bruised reed, I got up from bed and with no schedule for the day, just watched FOX news as they showed the Christmas sermon of Ptr. Rick Warren.  I briefly smiled when he started using Hebrews 11:6, a passage I had used for one of the retreats I had conducted recently.

But what really struck me was when he said ” Do not exert too much energy focusing on the solutions to your problems… focus on WHO HE IS. FOCUS on CHRIST alone…”

It was definitely a message for me.  I was too weak and too hurt to find any solution – and that was the perfect state to just seek Christ alone.  Lord, yes you are enough. You are more than enough!

We are almost there, but not quite.  The other night I felt like I went through an extensive open heart surgery.  It was clearly needed – and the heart can only be healed through such an extensive heart operation.  I even praised God for allowing it to happen.  The “heart stitches” have been done – and in its most fragile state, utmost tenderness must be done to ensure its proper healing in the days to come.

Yes… our healing is on its way.

Yesterday as Wifey and I went to the mall to get some of our groceries, I was very surprised to hear the Christmas songs still being played in the mall.  I missed Christmas.  It all just came and went.  It was a long vacation here in this country – made longer in our anticipation to see the end of what we were going through.

I found myself humming the songs “O Holy Night…”, ‘Come All ye Faithful…”

I was singing again.  My wounded heart is able to sing again – and it was my wife who quietly pointed it out to me when she said “Hubby is singing again…”

I smiled quietly.

Yes Lord… thank you.. You are the only Christmas gift I would ever want in this lifetime.

Lord, you are more than enough.

Image cover THE SHACK

Image cover THE SHACK

A couple of days ago, a friend posted on his multiply site that he received a copy of that Christian novel The Shack.

The rest of the article has been moved to this link.  Please click on the link to read the full article.

http://www.compassionateconsiderations.com/?p=194

Thank you.

Yesterday the Men’s Conference ended in Tagaytay. It was a very wonderful conference! My mind had initially listed the insights I wanted to share in the blogworld. The Chief Justice Reynato Puno was a sterling example of humility that I will not forget. There are other things I would like to write about but all of these would need to be written at some other time.

Today, typhoon Frank is ravaging the country. Massive floodings have taken place in the Visayas. Signal Number 3 has been raised in Southern Luzon all the way up to Pangasinan. At 4am today, I called up our National Director and suggested the cancellation of our combined Metro Manila Worship. Our guest speaker from the United States was supposed to address our congregations. At 5AM I got word that the rented PA equipment were all set up… but all had to be cancelled.

Maybe we are at the eye of the storm right now – it is quiet, but the skies still looks foreboding. We lost power this morning and it was resumed by noon. Once the TV was turned on, news of the disaster and the recovery efforts were being broadcasted. I was appalled at the insensitivity of the networks who still went on with their trashy noon-time shows instead of having an alternate programming. For me, having those shows in the midst of tragedies everywhere does not do anything but desensitize the people and instead of allowing compassion to well inside inside their hearts, they attend to their prurient interests by watching these so called entertaining noontime shows.

While I write this, there have been confirmed 4 deaths and unconfirmed 74 bodies from the ship that sank off the coast of Romblon. Sulpicio Lines – The Princess was reportedly carrying 700 passengers when it sank somewhere off the coast of Romblon. Body bags are being given now to Sulpicio Lines as bodies are being recovered floating at sea.

The NDCC Live coverage of meetings and consultations showed Dick Gordon saying ” in our experience at Red Cross, there have been times, when we would recover survivors floating at sea even after 4 days… so we will not report them as dead until we see bodies. Right now they are presumed missing…” You know what really got me? General Eduardo Ermita turned to him behind the back of the Vice – President Noli de Castro and whispered something. He covered his cheek with a piece of paper and said something and they both smiled and tried to laugh quietly….

I did not know what it was all about. But I did not understand what would be so funny right after his comments about floating bodies at sea…. I wanted to get mad. But deep inside I just wanted to be alone and beg God for His help.

Lord God, Creator of the Universe… Our Father who loves us more than we could ever ask or imagine…. have mercy and rescue us from this typhoon. Municipalities in the Visayas are under water and now the threat of flooding in the plains of Central Luzon is really imminent in the next couple of hours. God, we are inundated with challenges. Flooding in Central Luzon would mean destruction of rice fields and crops and would make impassable highways for the products from Northern Luzon to be brought to the lowlands.

Lord, somewhere out there – there are people who are perishing at sea right now. Maybe they are clutching on to each other. Maybe they managed to don their life vests, maybe some of them were not able to do so in the midst of the confusion as the ship was sinking. Lord, rescue the powerless…. they have been at sea for many hours now. Rescue the children, the old women, the infirmed who could not swim… let them all be found by the small bancas trying to find them. You are King over the floods, over the waves….rescue them from the high waters….. many slippers of the children were found floating….. but Lord, where are the children?  Lord God, a couple bound themselves together – and both of them were found floating still bound to each other….. Lord have mercy.

Lord God, the contrast of what we have heard about YOU, what we have experienced from you at the conference – and then the sobering reality of how this whole creation is groaning in agony. Your love is not diminished in our pain. Your mercy is never diminished in our tragedies. You are the Father whose love for us goes beyond the pain of the present. We worship You even as our tears fall as we see destruction around us.

Thank you for your mercy. Thank You for being with them – those who are perishing and those who have been rendered homeless and helpless.

“Though the oceans rise and thunders roar

I will soar with You above the storm

Father , You are King over the floods

And I will be still

Know You are God….”

In the precious name of the SON.

AMEN

4 young scouts died when the twister rampaged through the Little Sioux Boys Scout Camp in Iowa. Hours before when it was being flashed on CNN – they did not have the full report of the damage.

Now complete with interviews, aerial shots and other pictures of the devastation, I felt a huge lump in my throat as they showed the pictures of the young scouts whose lives were snuffed away when the tornado passed.

They were too young… two were 13 year olds and the other two were 14 year olds. What a tragedy for the 100 scouts who were there. The survivors gave their testimonies on camera, with one of them saying “maybe God still has something for me to do…” and looked away trying to fight the tears.

This has been another difficult week. Floodings in iowa, wildfires in California, children dying in Africa, high rising cost of fuel worldwide, another earthquake in Japan…. the whole mankind is taking a massive beating – and left wondering when will all of these stop?

Lord, surround the grieving parents of the scouts. Fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters are all grieving right now for the loss of a young brother, a young son, a young friend. Comfort Lord those who are broken by the things they have no control of. Lord God, please be merciful and let the innocent children in Africa survive the famine brought about by war and devastation. Let us hear of your miracles as You reach out to the little ones who are desperately crying out for You.

In Jesus’ Name

AMEN

I was amazed at the growing interest at the article I wrote https://compassionateconsiderations.wordpress.com/2008/05/24/deliver-us-from-evil/.

The slain RCBC personnel have all been given a poignant funerals in the last couple of days. Stories were coming out about the lives of these people. It is truly heartbreaking because there are more than 10 families grieving right now.

One of the victims was a recent graduate of the same Law school where i took the exam recently. He was supposed to take the Bar exam this coming September. An 8 X 11 post about him with his graduation pic were posted on several bulletin boards across the campus. The lady who interviewed me noticed that I was reading one of those posters inside the room after the written exam and she commented “he was a very, very nice person…. we really feel bad about this loss…”

Let us continue praying for the families who are grieving right now. There is no need to click on the pictures of the slain victims inside the bank. There is no need to even pass these images. Let us give the grieving family the support and dignity that their loved ones deserve.