What if

Before going to church my mom asked this question, “Marc, magilang taon ka na?” If you would translate it in English, it’s my mom asking how old I will be in anticipation of my birthday in the next couple of days. As of the moment, I can still confidently answer that question since I’m technically still in my late 20s. Hehe. I’ll leave it you, my dear readers, to guess how old I am.

But what really hit me hard was not a reflection of how old I will be in the next couple of days, but what my mom asked after. She asked me where do I guess I will be if I haven’t gone full-time in the ministry and have continued in my corporate job before.

That made me think.

Looking back in my corporate stint, I know by this time I should have risen above the corporate ladder since I became a manager at a young age. In every promotion that I got, I knew that God’s hand was in my life and career. I enjoyed what I was doing, but despite the position and a good salary to enjoy, I know deep within my heart this is not what I’m supposed to do.

And so, that started our discussion in the car about the “what ifs” in life. Actually it was just dad who did most of the talking about his “what ifs”.

The truth is this. Haven’t we all at one point in our lives thought about our “what ifs”?

  • What if I took that other job?
  • What if I didn’t break up with my boyfriend or girlfriend?
  • What if I took the opportunity to work outside of the Philippines?
  • What if I decided to take the other path instead?

There are two views in your “what ifs.” It can be a look into the future. For example, what if I decide to transfer work – what salary would I get, what will be my work schedule, who will be my friends, etc. It’s thinking about the possibilities with a future decision or direction in your life.

What IfBut the “what ifs” that I’m pertaining is not looking at the future. It’s looking at the past. And it’s answering this general question, that you can play in your mind using different situations – “what if I decided differently?” For example, where would I be right now if I didn’t breakup with my girlfriend before? Or where would I be right now if I stayed in my previous company and never transferred work? What if I decided differently?

We’re consistently faced with a decision in life. When you wake up, you are already facing a decision. What will you do? Will you brush your teeth? Will you eat first? Or get back to sleep?

Life is full of decisions.

But there are few major decisions, that we really need to take the time to think about. Decisions that will alter the course of our life.

We’re coming from a new year where we might be facing major decisions in life. In reality, we really do not know what will happen. Life is so full of uncertainties. We will face lots of decisions in life.

But the important thing is this – love the Lord and keep His commandments. One truth will always remain certain – God is faithful to those who love Him and keep His commandments

Deuteronomy 7:9 – Know therefore that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;

That’s why even though I know I gave up a lot to pursue serving Him and His people, and there’s so much uncertainty in life, I know He will always be faithful. I can always try to play the “what if” game, but I know as well that in all those years He has remained true in guiding me where I should be. All the while I thought I was really built for the corporate world, but there was a bigger plan for me that I’m still venturing through.

We can come in (?) 2015 with an expectant heart. That no matter the situation. No matter the time. No matter the day. No matter the year. God is faithful.

Our God will never change. He will always be true to who He is and it says in Psalms 86:15

“But you, O Lord, are a God  merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.”

What is vital is that you know who your God is. That He is faithful. He is merciful and gracious. He is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.

May this new year be a great journey with you and the Lord. I pray that we would continue to walk humbly in His ways, love Him dearly and obey His commandments. I would love to hear how you would want this new year to unfold. Maybe you can please leave a comment below.

Excited to Start Planning for Next Year

We’ll be leaving in a couple of hours, headed to Mt. Makiling Re-creation center. It’s the time of the year when we plan for the upcoming year. I’m really excited about our planning sessions for 2015. It has always been part of my system and was trained more when I started working in the corporate world. Of course, other than planning implementation is also important, but for now, the focus is preparing for the great task ahead next year.

This is all God’s work. As far as I am concerned, it’s His plan and not ours. We just move according to the direction that He wants us to take. But how do you know His direction? How do you make the plans? I’m entering our planning sessions with a lot of ideas in mind. Things that I believe the Lord has laid down in my heart. How do I know if it’s truly from Him? To be honest, you don’t really know. You can’t really claim 100% or worse, 110% that this was from God.

That’s why it’s important first that you maintain a close walk with God. That you never neglect your time with Him in prayer and in reading His word. As you dwell in His presence, walk closely with Him and obey His general commands towards all mankind – you will know what He wants. You will make decisions close to His heart. You will plan things according to what He wants because you are so intimate with Him and know what He wants you to do. This is all still through faith and according to the principles of His written word.

Second, as you make decisions you need to surround yourself with Godly people who maintain a close walk with God as well. I have only been a ministry head for 6 months and I have already learned that you cannot make decisions on your own. There will be times that you will be pressured and you need to decide on the spot, but if you have the liberty of time, do not rush your decisions. Take the time in prayer about it and consult other people. Talk to your core leaders about it. Share your concern to your mentor or to someone who disciples you. Then, collectively think about their inputs and make a decision. You will be amazed when you realize that there are certain areas that you haven’t thought about and getting others’ input will help you see it in a different perspective.

I’m really excited to start planning and seek the Lord during this time. All I want to follow what He wants and honor Him. In the end, you need to take it to heart that you can plan, but in the end, it is the Lord’s will that prevails.

What is easier to say?

 

Jesus Heals the ParalyticWhat is easier to say “Your Sins are Forgiven” or “Get up and Walk?” For someone who has been paralyzed it’s easier to say “your sins are forgiven.” But to say is different than to do. Both statements are hard to do because both statements can only be done by the Lord.

It’s such a joy for me to be able to study Matthew 9:1-8 where Jesus heals the paralytic. When I read verse 5, I immediately said to myself: “well, it’s easier to say your sins are forgiven.”

Matthew 9:5 – Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, and walk’?

 

It’s easy to say this because there is no visible output that we are expecting to see unlike the other statement which means that once you declare that, you need to see the person standup and walk again.

When Jesus first said, “your sins are forgiven” in verse 2, some of the scribes immediately thought this is outrageous.

Matthew 9:2 And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, “Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.”

 

They knew only God can forgive sin. The sad part of about this is, they never acknowledge Jesus was God. So Jesus asked them what is easier to say “Your Sins are Forgiven” or “Get up and Walk?” He knew in their hearts that they did not believe He was God. So in order to show who He was, he said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up you bed and go home.” And so he did. Now, if Jesus was able to heal a man who wasn’t able to walk since his birth, wouldn’t he be able to forgive sin? Again, only God can forgive sin. But only God can also heal a paralytic.

Paralytic Getting Up

The result is in verse 8.

8 But when the crowds saw this, they were awestruck, and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.

 

They were awestruck. He has the authority to forgive sin. He has the authority over diseases and physical infirmities. They knew they were in the presence of God, and who wouldn’t be?

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