There’s a storm, after the rainbow

Storm and Rainbow

I know what you may be thinking. Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around, “There’s a rainbow, after the storm?” Allow me to explain where I am coming from.

Life is filled with ups and downs. The Christian walk is always a battle.  There are cases where we are defeated. There are cases where we are victorious. And when we are victorious, the more that we should be on guard, else we fall. I’ve realized in my Christian walk that temptations and problems normally come after a moment of victory.

Yesterday was one of those days where I felt I was victorious. I preached for 4 services yesterday. Speaking for 4 times is not an easy task. That’s why we really need to value and appreciate our pastors who have been doing that for years already. It was a moment of joy for me to know that I was able to speak for 4 services, without losing my voice and strength. It was a time of joy for me, most especially because I know deep within my heart I was able to depend on God all throughout the day. Lots of people approached me after each service to let me know they were blessed with the message. Hearing their feedback was not a moment for me to boost my ego, but to merely be encouraged that indeed the Lord is working through me and I am just his vessel. Every preacher should desire that their message would always point to Jesus and not to themselves. So I was in a position to go through the day with joy in my heart and sleep soundly after a very tiring day.

I know yesterday was the moment of victory. So today I should be vigilant, and careful not to put my guard down, else I fall into temptation. Indeed, just as expected you cannot be complacent – the battle continues.

My girlfriend and I intended to watch a movie today so I can relax. She said that she was willing to watch whatever movie I wanted. I was willing to watch either “The Intern” or the “The Martian,” whatever has a good schedule and location. If you know me, the only thing that I really want when a watch a movie (aside from the actual movie) is good popcorn. So we were driving around Makati, and Power Plant was the only mall we saw that was still showing “The Intern.” My girlfriend really wanted to watch this movie and I was good either way as long as there’s popcorn. Nonetheless, she told me that the popcorn there wasn’t that good so I decided that we watch “The Martian” in Greenbelt instead. Plus, my favorite popcorn can be bought there. After I mentioned this, she expressed her sadness towards my decision. This made me a little bit (just a little bit, hehe) frustrated; I thought she wanted to watch what I wanted, but here she is, expressing her discontent towards my decision. To make the long story short, as small as the issue seems for some of you, it led to an argument.

There was a moment where we were both quiet. While I was thinking, I know God was already talking to my heart asking me to ask for forgiveness for how I reacted. However my pride was still there. I wanted her to realize her mistake so I was really planning to cancel our plan to watch a movie and just go home. But God was still there, speaking in my heart not to let this petty argument grow bigger. I know I need to ask for forgiveness. I know I need to humble myself. I still drove to Greenbelt and parked the car so we can talk.

In the parking area, I told her why I got so frustrated. I told her that I was frustrated because she mentioned that she was willing to watch whatever movie I wanted. Then she told me that her moment of sadness was just to express what she felt but that doesn’t mean that she didn’t want to go to Greenbelt and watch another movie instead. I guess this is really the part where we say, “Men are from Mars, and Women are from Venus.” I asked for forgiveness and she did the same. Later on, we prayed and everything was fine again.

What’s my point? You have to always be on your guard. Whenever there are moments of victory you should praise God, but never put your guard down. Never be complacent. Keep watch and pray.

1 Peter 5:8 - Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

 

Whenever there is a moment of victory or joy, the more that you should pray and the more that you should be on your guard, else you fall. It’s not easy. Sometimes we would like to think when would the battle end. It will not. As long as we are in our flesh, there will always be temptations and we need to keep fighting. The battle goes on, but remember the war is already over.

Keep walking in the spirit and keep abiding in Christ. Apart from Him, we can do nothing. That’s why I praise God that he was speaking in my heart and he did not allow me to make our argument blow into proportions.

Keep fighting the good fight my friend. Let’s run the race well and finish strong. It’s going to be a long marathon, but the Lord has promised us that will He will never leave us, nor forsake us.

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P.S. By the way, we still watched “The Martian” and it was a good movie. We enjoyed our time together even though we had an argument. This is just one of those moments where we need learn from our mistake and move on. Indeed we have, which led to us enjoy our time together, and thanking God for his goodness and grace.

Don’t Delay. Turn Away.

There’s one song that comes into my mind when I reflected on Judges 17 to 21. It’s a famous song – part of the top 10 list of videoke songs. Do you know Frank Sinatra? Do you know his legendary song? I did it may way.

Frank-Sinatra-My-Way

When we look at Judges 17 to 21 it takes us into two different conclusions for the book. Two stories that show they just wanted to do it their way. One story talks about idolatry, while the other highlights rape and murder. Here the bible gives us a good picture of the effects of sin and how man will try to do what it thinks is right but in the end it is still far from what the Lord expects of His people.

There is much to learn from these passages. If only we would really take the time to read and be sensitive to what the Lord wants us to learn. This is passage (like any passage in the Bible) is important to read and internalize that we learn not to take sin lightly and know what God said in His word that we may not go our own way. Sin has life threatening effects. Some may feel that they are getting away with their sin, but that’s not really true. There are consequences. There are effects. And if we’re not careful how we live, the consequence might involve another person’s life.

Micahs-IdolsIf you would read Judges 17-18, here you would read Micah and his mother building her own idol and even a shrine. Honestly, I can’t understand why his mother would do this since she mentioned in verse 3 “the Lord.” The Hebrew for the Lord there is not any of those menial gods but it is referring to Yehovah, which is the proper name of the God of Israel.

How could this be though? If she knows who the Lord is, that the Lord commanded in Exodus 20 (the Ten Commandments) not to create any idol, why would she even do this? What I realized is this; man will try to still do what they want to do. Knowing who God is does not guarantee that we will act in accordance with what we know. We will still try to do things our own way. This sin led others to sin as well. Here we would see initial this idols were used in Micah’s household but eventually it resulted in having a whole tribe worship these idols as well. Sin has consequences. The sad part about this is, it also resulted in other committing the same sin. How about you? Is there is a sin in your life that you think you can get away with? Is your sin causing others to sin as well? Ask God for forgiveness now and correct it. Do not delay. God said in his word that if we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our trespasses.

Then another story can be seen in Judges 19-21. If you read these chapters, you would immediately we able to recall what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah. It looks exactly the same. Here we would see a traveller who stopped in a city to rest. No one took him in, but one man was kind enough to be hospitable to him. During that night, men from the city came and this man’s house and demanded that he brings them his guest so they can have sex with him. The man did not want to do this so, he offered his virgin daughter instead plus the man’s concubine. Doesn’t this sound like the same story in Sodom and Gomorrah?

So what happened? The men insisted and the guest brought her concubine out to them without any hesitation and they raped her and abused her until dawn. I cannot even imagine what they did to take. It’s just so immoral and so inhumane. What happened to the woman? We would see in verse 26, she came back to the man’s house and fell down at the doorway – dead at arrival. The guest got his concubine, went to his home and cut the dead body into twelve pieces. Then he sent a pieces all throughout the territory of Israel.

You may ask, what was the consequence of this?

sodom-gomorrahThe same as Sodom and Gomorrah, a total wipe out of a city. This caused such a stir in Israel that the whole land roused up to purge wickedness from this city (Gibeah). Leading to the destruction of a whole tribe. Again, sin has its consequence. Sodom and Gomorrah were totally destroyed. And Gibeah and the sons of Benjamin were also totally destroyed. The entire city and all their cattle were killed. All the cities under the Benjamites were set on fire.

Again, how about you? Is there is a sin in your life that you think you can get away with? Are you taking your sin lightly? You should take sin seriously. Sin can have tremendous effects on your life and the life of those around you.

We should learn how to purge the sin in our life immediately. The Lord is gracious. If we will learn how to be humble and daily walk in forgiveness, I know he will restore us. Don’t delay. Ask forgiveness. Turn away from sin.

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