The message of Job

The story of Job.

Everybody seemed familiar with the story of this incredible man. A man of faith. A man who has everything then lost it all.

We went to church this morning for the worship service. This is the first time we are attending the Church of Biblical Truth here in our subdivision. I know who the Pastor here, but he was not there when we arrive. Instead, they have a lady who will be speaking. She said that she has prepared a message for the last 2 weeks and God is giving her a different message. She bargained with God. Then Sunday morning came and as she was preparing, the message felt stronger and she had changed the subject of her message. She does not even know why, but she chose to follow God’s direction.

We arrived with 4 kids. We have 2 nephews and my own 2 kids. I was not really expecting God to reveal things to me because Pastor Jess is not around so I just sat down and try to listen to the speaker. When she spoke of how the message has been changed, I was like “Okay. God led her to change it.” Then she revealed the message was of a man who has everything then lost everything and God replaced everything that he lost. That man was Job.

The story revolves around how Job was one of the people that pleased God and how God brags about him. Then Satan came to have a little “challenge” so to speak. They put Job to the test, they were trying to know what will be the man’s decision will be. They took all of his possessions, his slaves, his livestock, his children, and they caused him great pain by giving him some skin disease. One of the prayers I remember from him was “…Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” Job 1:21 English Standard Version.

Job with his 3 friends
Job with his 3 friends

Why was this relevant to me? Why did I feel that God intentionally made me go to that church this Sunday and had me listen to the speaker? It’s because He wants me to learn and know that He is still in control. God wants me to hear how Job responded. How Job’s life was more miserable and painful than mine. I lost my job, I am in need of a financial resource because my wife is 6 months pregnant and my daughter’s still going to school, debts and bills needed to be paid…

God wanted me to hear that HE IS STILL IN CONTROL. I have forgotten how it feels to be assured by God. I have been complaining and whining. I have questioned God again and again. I know I can question God because He has given me freedom to speak and think on my own. But my line of questioning is more of a literal questions.

I have lost some of my faith along the way and I know how it is to go against God and be under His grace. I have learned how to suffer and accept the fact that I have sinned. And the story of Job made me realize, God does what He knows is best for me. Now I can never question His wisdom, but I may ask for His grace to be with me in times like this.

After God answered Job, He blessed Job more. God gave him what he lost and more. All that Job did was to trust in the Lord. TRUST IN THE LORD.

My story so far.

 

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Grace Explained

I have always wanted to explain what GRACE is. Well, on my end, I found that I really can’t explain it. As Philip Yancey said on his book, “I’d rather convey grace rather than explain it.” So, I won’t attempt to do so. All I can say is, I am a recipient of grace myself.

But the question is, am I conveying grace to others? Am I giving the impression to others that I have been graced?

Questions raised. Answers needed.

The answer is just a yes or no but I can’t give it. Am I hiding things? Am I keeping some “dirty secrets“? Probably.

I will answer these things when the right time comes.

quotes on Grace

“…the Christian is in a different position from other people who are trying to be good. They hope, by being good, to please God if there is one; or … at least they hope to deserve the approval from good men. But the Christian thinks any good he does comes from the Christ-life inside him. He does not think God will love us because we are good, but that God will make us good because He loves us; just as the roof of a greenhouse does not attract the sun because it is bright, but becomes bright because the sun shines on it.”

— C. S. Lewis

trails from the rivers of tears

they were left behind,
they had faith but was left behind.

they cried for help,
they cried for help to no avail.

they were scared.
they were scared and now alone.

they were cast aways,
they were cast aways and loners.

they were branded,
they were branded as traitors of faith, backsliders.

but Jesus came,
but Jesus came and cried with them.

He cried and wept,
for He knows how painful it is,
fallen angels…

 

written: October 18, 2012
Gabs Narazo
© 2012 [bLURrED publikation]

Lady Gaga, the LGBT and the Christians

Her name is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, famously known as Lady Gaga, is in the country right now to perform a 2 night concert at the SM Mall of Asia or MOA. This is actually the 2nd time she is performing in the Philippines. And before she arrives, I think she has already read or heard about the protests of some “Religious” groups here in the Philippines. They don’t want her to have her concert here because they want her to “respect our faith, stop the blasphemy.” But organizers from Ovation Productions said they respect the beliefs of critics but promised that the performances “will not pose a threat to their sense of morality and conduct.

She was famous for her songs “Poker Face”, “Bad Romance”, “Telephone” and “Alejandro” just to name a few. And also some rumors surrounding her sexuality. But we can’t deny that she is also famous for her sense of fashion and the songs that she sang. Alejandro has a very, very controversial video. According to Wikipedia, “’Alejandro’ created a media uproar after the release of the video because of its use of religious imagery. One of the most discussed scenes in the video was when Gaga, dressed in a latex nun outfit, swallowed rosary beads. The Catholic League criticized the video for its use of religious imagery, accusing Gaga of “playing a Madonna copy-cat”. Moncia Herrara said of the mayhem: “[Alejandro] courts religious controversy in much the same way that Madonna’s ‘Like a “Prayer’ video once did, intermingling Catholic imagery like rosary beads and nun’s robes with sexual cues.” In an interview with MTV, Klein explained that the religious symbolism was not meant to denote anything negative, but to represent Gaga’s battle between the darker and lighter forces. Thus at the end of the film, she is portrayed again in her nun’s habit. Klein added that the significance behind her mouth and eyes disappearing was “because she is withdrawing her senses from the world of evil and going inward towards prayer and contemplation.” He added that the scene where Gaga devours the rosary beads was her act of theophany, the desire to consume the body of God, the rosary being symbolic of the Holy.” You can check the link.

Why am I writing about her? It is because of her relationship and stand with LGBT or lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. Lady Gaga is a strong supporter of this group. According to Wikipedia, besides her career in music, Gaga has also contributed to various charities. Among others is:

Don’t get me wrong. I am not a fan of Lady Gaga. But with all the protests against her in this country, we have labeled our country “THE ONLY CHRISTIAN NATION IN ASIA”. Have we reached out to the LGBT? Or we are like the many who judges them because they are members of LGBT? My previous post has somehow become related to this one. Christians attacking other people because they are not Believers. We condemn people and say that they are Anti-Christ and all, that they are the abolition of the human race, etc.

I have nothing against Lady Gaga, but I don’t condone her acts and the way she sings and her songs. What I am concerned of, is my fellow Believers. Are we becoming more judgmental? I found an article from USAToday with this headline: “Study: Youth see Christians as judgmental, anti-gay.” We are not becoming light and salt of this world. We are not doing our jobs. We are becoming the antagonists of the world, which should not be. We need to be the people who dispenses GRACE my brothers and sisters. That is our function. That is why we are here. It was said, “hate the sin, love the sinner”. I know we need to draw the line on this issue, but then, we need to draw them while we pray for God’s wisdom.

Christians on hot waters

I tried to get more info on what Manny Pacquiao said about gays and this is what I got from his official website, “Manny Pacquiao was recently quoted in the USAToday as invoking the old testament and recited Leviticus 20:13, saying: “If a man lies with a man as one lies with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.” In the same conversation Manny explained his feelings in regards to same sex marriage which were printed in an earlier article today. “God only expects man and woman to be together and to be legally married, only if they are in love with each other. “It should not be of the same sex so as to adulterate the altar of matrimony, like in the days of Sodom and Gomorrah of Old.” In what appears to be Manny Pacquiao’s official feelings on the subject, let us just say that Pacquiao’s beliefs are not the beliefs, of this writer or the staff of MP8.ph.” (source, http://tiny.cc/2loeew)

I am a Born-Again Christian too. Although I had been on the crossroads of my faith, I know what it is to believe and to say and when to say them. I will not comment on what Manny Pacquiao said, because like the bible says, DO NOT JUDGE… but what I will say is more on expressing our beliefs and standing by them BUT not spreading hate or judgment.

I have already read a book entitled, What’s So Amazing About Grace? written by Philip Yancey. And one of the common mistakes Christians made is to spread hatred rather than grace. To quote Philip’s words, “Christians were becoming known mainly for what they were against: pornography, homosexuality, abortion, etc. That disturbed me, as I see grace as one of the great, often untapped, powers of the universe that God has asked us to set loose.” Admit it or not, most of the Believers tend to forget what Jesus did in the New Testament. In Mark 2:15-17, “15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” ” here, Jesus MINGLED with the sinners and tax collectors.

We need to be the one to spread grace on this world, but it seems that we do forget that.  We tend to forget that the hospital is where the sick go, that the bed is where the tired rests. We just want the world to know what is right and that there should be justice, which is not wrong. But our priority is point people to Jesus.

Not all good-intentions are easy. Sometimes, good-intentions needs to be delayed. Words have already hurt people. Let us avoid hurting them more by quoting the bible to get our points across. It has and still is being used by a lot of religious groups.

And last, one of the great philosophers said what I think is one of the cautionary words we should take VERY SERIOUSLY. It is the words of Mahatma Gandhi: “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.

[ be still and know that I AM GOD… ] [edited]

“this message was given to me by my mother a few months ago. i was on one of my lowest points in my life that time. i am becoming suicidal which was unusual because i am not. i am now, back to where i was before. suffering the consequences of the foolishness and stupidities that i have done.

i feel that i have failed my father, he wanted me to be a military man. he wanted me to go to PMA and be a military officer. which i failed to do. he then wanted me to study a four year course in college, which i also failed. i finished a vocational course. i failed my mother. she wanted me to be the son who will be assisting, helping her with my siblings. i failed. she wanted me to be a firm believer in Christ, which i failed. i failed my brother and sisters. i failed to be the kuya that they need me to be.

i failed my two beautiful kids. i failed because i have not secured a family for her. i am not becoming the father she needs because i cannot provide them the assistance they need. financially, emotionally, etc. my daughter is in Samar with her mom. i am with my brother on weekdays. and on weekends, i am alone.

i failed the mother of my daughter. i have been coward and wasn’t as true as i have to be with her mom. i got her pregnant and fell short of the expectations set to me as a man. i run away from the responsibilities of being a father to my kid. yes, i failed to love my kid’s mom. i failed to love one woman. and still falling short of what they’re expecting of me.

my nephew who is 5 years old knows more than i do. yes, i failed him too. his father deserted him when he and my sister’s marriage fell. he looked unto me and my younger brother as the father he never had. yet, i can’t even give him anything now. not even a pencil case for his studies.

i failed. miserably. i failed so bad that i can’t even get a promotion because i am scared. scared of the responsibilities that i will have to take. stupid because i can’t face them. i even failed, my own self by not doing the best i can.

and yes, i failed the woman who trusted me for 6 years. she believed in me. she placed her trust, her love, her faith on me. and i failed her… now she has someone else in her life. i suck terribly that i am missing her so bad. i wanted to tell her that i am deeply sorry for what i have done. and that if she can give me another chance, i will be the happiest man on earth. good luck with that.

and finally, i failed my GOD. i know God has a lot of plans for me in my life. but then again, i had turned my back against Him. the only ONE who really ever loved me. i failed Him, big time! and i have been telling myself that God is not the one who decided for me, i am the one insisting my own stubbornness. i have been stubborn. i have been insisting on my own wants. not God.

and now, i found myself on this track where my suicidal tendencies are getting strong. before i left my apartment this evening, i am having those thoughts that says, “what if i get hit by a vehicle?”. i was crying like a kid along the way. when i reached the church along the road, i am not a catholic by the way, i went inside the church. why? i cried. i sobbed like a drunken man. i poured out my heart and asked God why? but then again, i know the “why?” questions will not be answered.

i have been depressed these few years now, and i am suffering because of what i have done. i know nobody’s to be blame but me. but this is not a blaming game. this is not what i have in mind.

i accidentally listened to a song by Hillsong entitled, STILL. it said, “i will be still and know you are God…”. it caught my attention, i have played it again and again. i cried while listening to it, let me share the full lyrics to you. it is a short song, but powerful one.

STILL

hide me now
under Your wings
cover me
within Your mighty hand

when the oceans rise and thunders roar
i will soar with you above the storm
Father You are King over the flood
i will be still and know You are God

find rest my soul
in Christ alone
know His power
in quietness and trust

it brought me to my knees yes, but at the same time, it made say “be still my soul and know that God is above EVERYTHING.”. yes, God is King over the flood. i may have been suffering, but then, God never really left me alone. i was just ignoring Him. and for now, i will put my trust to the One who knows me better.

written, February 17, 2009.