Monthly Archives: December 2012

Treasures on earth

Matthew 6: 19-21  “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

I am self-confessed bibliomaniac or bookworm. When I was young -grade school to high school age- I always frequent my friend’s house (Junjun Sarreal) so I can read their Encyclopedia Britannica where Junjun was famous for quoting their content and their copies of Time and Newsweek magazines- and borrow some of them home-where I spend time pouring on stories of Nixon, Carter and Reagan during the summer days. I also borrow the bible story book, world history and Old Baltimore catechism from the house of Ongsu’s at Instruccion Street, Sampaloc, Manila-where books on English literature and the biography of John F. Kennedy can be found. They were my treasured –borrowed possession.

library

And so –now that I have my own financial resources –and the glut of trade books and imported second-hand books here in the Philippines- plus the ease of buying online form Amazon and other Christian publishing houses- I now have three steel bookshelves and 4  plastic case of books-these without including the pdf, epubs, lits, djvu and cbzs I have downloaded online in my 500 GB portable hard disk.

This Christmas holiday – I went through my hardcopy collection and found out-to my dismay that my wood bookshelf is infested with termites –and it started gnawing at the top shelf-not below where I am anticipating if ever there is a termite in the area. And I thought our house is concrete-and impervious to them. But termites has a nasty way of entering to the grooves and cleavages of the floor panels and then going through the lower levels of the bookshelf and then destroying the books. Fortunately – it was the Star Wars books and some old management books that I already read or really leave out that it started to destroy.

Books_eaten_by_termites

So it took me three weeks to unload the books, throw out the bookshelf and other items I really don’t need at all or anymore, locate and install the new two steel shelves and reload the books. And I still need to rearrange it again based on my reading habits and needs. I also took all of the magazines that I have pdf copies and gave it to one of my disciple-friend- Elder Romy dela Cruz so that he can use it as background reading in theology and general matters. I previously gave away 2 years worth of the Banner magazine of CRCNA to CRC San Pedro, Laguna for their use.

During one of my rearranging time and resorting time –based on the 5S principle of –seiri, seiton, seiso,seiketsu, and shitsuke – I have to throw away items that I did not even use once in 5 years-but it seems impractical to do so since most books are hard to look for and come by-so it still remain with me-even though I have read it before. I might not read “Lord of the Rings” trilogy anymore since the movie-but it reminds me of my college years when I started reading it through a copy of Junjun Sarreal. I said to myself- I have to leave books that will define my personality, character, interest and legacy-and I hope they-my children –and my disciples in Christ-will at least peek and pore at the pages after. They may have their portable viewers later-but nothing beats the friendship of the printed page-when you feel the roughness or texture of the pages and are able to hold it without the fear of dropping it and destroying it.

But still-other have books and items must go- with termites in its pages-it has to go-so as not to contaminate others- there goes the initials books on the Yuuzhan Vong (http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Yuuzhan_Vong) invasion where Chewbacca died to save the Solo’s children-then some old theories in management that I never understand –like matrix organization (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matrix_management), and there are the small electronic parts that I thought that I will be using later for some projects or repairs , and items from previous IIEE conventions and seminars. I hold onto them for remembrance- but I hardly remember anything about them at all-so it must go too. My deep regret is I lost the book of William Safire-“Freedom” to the termites. There I understood how ethically nuance the issues about the American Civil War and that Lincoln is not that bland personality- he is too human-and yet he was a good leader for their time. First time to read there also about General McClellan and Robert Lee. I was not able to finish it-since the noted alone are tremendous and scholarly important with regards to the issues discussed in the book.

allthatyoucantleavebehind

And so as we grow old –other things must be left behind-others must be discarded –I just hope that what remains –is taken by the next generation for their own journey-in faith- through time.

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From the Rising of the Sun

This was the message I preached at CRC San Pedro last November 25, 2012. This was the working outline which was changed based on the need of the moment :

Text : Malachi 1:1-5

Mal 1:1-5  An oracle: The word of the LORD to Israel through Malachi. “I have loved you,” says the LORD. “But you ask, ‘How have you loved us?’ “Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” the LORD says. “Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his mountains into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals.” Edom may say, “Though we have been crushed, we will rebuild the ruins.” But this is what the LORD Almighty says: “They may build, but I will demolish. They will be called the WickedLand, a people always under the wrath of the LORD. You will see it with your own eyes and say, ‘Great is the LORD–even beyond the borders of Israel!’

Intro:

This is a true story –I’ll just hide some of the details:

forlorn

Here is Pedro- responsible and excellent at work. But lately he is having some financial problems with the rent or was it his kid’s school bills-and so he came to His Boss and ask for an advance…but Pedro does not know that he is also just juggling and stretching his money so he can pay all the salary of his workers and pay the monthly debts. So his boss refused to give him an advance. So Pedro sulks and get bitter and complain in his heart. Saying – I am long time working for him and I am very good at my work. Only once I am asking from him this and yet he refused me. So starting from that day he begun to being late in his work…his work is no longer that good and he now speak behind his boss- telling stories he once did not believe himself.

Have we heard such stories?

It’s the story of our lives..It’s also the story of Israel.

The kingdom of Israel and Judah fell to the foreign empires of the day –and most of the Jews were deported to Babylon (present day Iraq) for 70 years- almost 2 generation worth.

When there is change of empire-Persian- they came back under the leadership of Zerubabel  and Joshua as seen in the book of Haggai and Zechariah.

And then the priest Nehemiah returned to Jerusalem to start with the temple. And yet few are coming back to Israel. Many are remaining in the foreign lands-thinking their time has gone by.

Then Nehemiah came back to build the walls. The problems they have-was still the problem being addressed by the prophet named Malachi- My messenger –possibly a fellow priest himself.

Most of the Israelites in Jerusalem are expecting that when they come –everything will be alright and they will be prosperous again –as in the days of David and Solomon.

And so they are remiss in their duties towards the temple –towards the priests –towards God.

But they are a nation of priests –Exodus 19: 5- Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine;

6and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”

Without the temple –then there will be no sacrifices for sins. Therefore the Jews and all mankind is threaten by judgment…

The Jews will realize that they are playing with dangerous fires:

A famous poet said: When you get little, you want more. THEN when you get more, you desire even more. BUT when you lose it all, you realize that LITTLE was enough.

And they are not learning this very well….they are asking if God if He really loves them:

Jacob Esau

1.      God loves Israel by electing them

Malachi 1:1-5

God remind them of His election of their nation form the days of their ancestor Jacob where he made a distinction against Esau- his older brother:  “”I have loved you,” says the LORD. “But you ask, ‘How have you loved us?’ “Was not Esau Jacob’s brother?” the LORD says. “Yet I have loved Jacob, but Esau I have hated, and I have turned his mountains into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals.”

His love made a choice to work with Jacob and his lineage-his bloodline instead of Esau. And he used the word hated to emphasize His love for Jacob.

Some have said that –in order to mellow the term hate a bit- that it is just a matter of comparison- love less or love more. Or choose not to bless.

Or that God was not referring to eternal destinies but only historical. Yet Jaco and Esau are examples of Apostle Paul in Romans  9:10-12 “Not only that, but Rebekah’s children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad–in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls–she was told, “The older will serve the younger.”

What does it mean for God to hate someone?

It is not malignity- o kasungitan ba. Na maski nakagawa ka ng mabuti- eh masama ka pa rin.  Ibig  sabihin –wala kang magawang tama sa harapan ninya. It only means that He is consistently in dealing with you. If we sin-then judgment will come. If we do something good –then natural or temporal blessings may come.

Just remember doing good involves a lot of things:

  1. Good motive
  2. Good goal
  3. Good manner or method
  4. Good timing
  5. For God’s glory alone.

But no man can do something ‘good’ by this definition. Outwardly good or good only to the level of man’s

Standards. So that means without intervention-man –who is not part of the elect will go downhill towards destruction and perdition.

Being hated means that God will not intervene in your life so that you will turn around and find your Savior. It also means that it will NOT be like in – Romans 8:28 “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”     

 It also means that there will be really Last Judgment for them. They will be left in their sins – They will be part of those being made example by God of His Judgment like Marcos or Hitler. Through His judgment upon them in history –The Lord is saying to His elect –that I love you because though you may fell- madapa o madupilas paminsan minsan pero you can rise again.

But like Edom/Esau-hated by God he will no longer be able to rise up again-even if he wants to :

Mal 1:4-5 Edom may say, “Though we have been crushed, we will rebuild the ruins.” But this is what the LORD Almighty says: “They may build, but I will demolish. They will be called the Wicked Land, a people always under the wrath of the LORD. You will see it with your own eyes and say, ‘Great is the LORD–even beyond the borders of Israel!’

It will be God’s honor that will at stake if they rise up again. They will be consigned to ashes-forever.Doon na sa sila ilillibing.

Israel should take it to heart that they can resurrect again as a nation and worship the Lord again.

glory

How to know you are one of the chosen? Of the elect? Simple- If you trust the Lord Jesus solely/only for your salvation and that you are living your life to please Him alone-then you are one of the chosen. You are love by God. Tell that to the one beside you-You are love by God! Amen.

But sometimes you leave the house and place your right foot to the left shoes and tried to walk with it-How does it feel ? Awkward?

So with Israel-with all that God did for them- they still put their foot on the wrong things.

2.      God confronts Israel

First the Priests:

Mal 1:6-9  “A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” says the LORD Almighty. “It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name. “But you ask, ‘How have we shown contempt for your name?’  7  “You place defiled food on my altar. “But you ask, ‘How have we defiled you?’ “By saying that the Lord’s table is contemptible. 8  When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the LORD Almighty. 9  “Now implore God to be gracious to us. With such offerings from your hands, will he accept you?”–says the LORD Almighty.

God is portrayed in this chapter as Father, Master, Ruler of All and the Great Name that people pray to. Familiarity with God sometimes makes us Him take for granted. We are just going though the motions-tama na ito-ganito lang naman kami-okay na ito.

Imagine this-like in Lucban, Quezon, it is fiesta and Mayor come to your house –will you serve ‘tuyo’ and rice and salt to serve them?

Try to get the help of someone in Pag-ibig or LTO or Bank to have faster service with tuyo at baka mas lalo tumagal pa yung request ninyo.

Imagine if Jesus came to your house- will you not serve the ordinary dishes you eat everyday-will you not find a way to upgrade it a bit ?

It is written in Lev 22: 18 to 25 that: (just mention important verses-NOT ALL)

Lev 22:18  “Speak to Aaron and his sons and to all the Israelites and say to them: ‘If any of you–either an Israelite or an alien living in Israel–presents a gift for a burnt offering to the LORD, either to fulfill a vow or as a freewill offering, 19  you must present a male without defect from the cattle, sheep or goats in order that it may be accepted on your behalf.  20  Do not bring anything with a defect, because it will not be accepted on your behalf. 21  When anyone brings from the herd or flock a fellowship offering to the LORD to fulfill a special vow or as a freewill offering, it must be without defect or blemish to be acceptable.  22  Do not offer to the LORD the blind, the injured or the maimed, or anything with warts or festering or running sores. Do not place any of these on the altar as an offering made to the LORD by fire. 23  You may, however, present as a freewill offering an ox or a sheep that is deformed or stunted, but it will not be accepted in fulfillment of a vow. 24  You must not offer to the LORD an animal whose testicles are bruised, crushed, torn or cut. You must not do this in your own land, 25  and you must not accept such animals from the hand of a foreigner and offer them as the food of your God. They will not be accepted on your behalf, because they are deformed and have defects.'”

This is part of the terms of the Covenant in Sinai-and part of the TempleSacrifices-which guards the relationship between God and Israel. They can only come to Him and represent Him before the nation because of the shedding of the blood.

worship-high-priest

The Levitical priesthood are tasked to protect and maintain that order as their ancestor Levi did when He killed those who partook in the idol worship in the foor of Mt Sinai.

Exodus 32:25       Moses saw that the people were running wild, for Aaron had let them get completely out of control, causing derision from their enemies.26 So Moses stood at the entrance of the camp and said, “Whoever is for the LORD, come to me.” All the Levites gathered around him,27 and he said to them, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Each man fasten his sword on his side, and go back and forth from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and each one kill his brother, his friend, and his neighbor.'” 28The Levites did what Moses ordered, and that day about three thousand men of the people died.29 Moses said, “You have been consecrated today for the LORD, for each of you was against his son or against his brother, so he has given a blessing to you today.”

But instead of being leaders-being model of good behaviors-what do they do?

“It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name. “But you ask, ‘How have we shown contempt for your name?’  7  “You place defiled food on my altar. “But you ask, ‘How have we defiled you?’ “By saying that the Lord’s table is contemptible. 8  When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong?

They are the one who violates the terms-Law of the covenant. Instead of being leaders-they are fixers. Sila pa yung may ginagawang kabalbalan katulad ng mga anak ni Eli at Samuel na pinarusahan ni Lord.

Malachi’s message is primarily addressed to priests i.e. John the Baptist came from a Levitical line as well- He is the one who prepared the road for the Messiah.

Mal 1:10-11  “Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the LORD Almighty, “and I will accept no offering from your hands. 11  My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to my name, because my name will be great among the nations,” says the LORD Almighty.

They should be the one who takes care of opening and closing the temple doors and maintaining the fires before the Holy of Holies (which was shut down only by the fall of Jerusalem in AD 70 ) . It was a small thing-but they are the ones who has that responsibility.

God wants them-the priest to take seriously and to take it to their heart the responsibility-however small-it is a privilege to serve the Lord of the Armies of Heaven. Not anyone can approach the Lord.

God is known from east to west even by those not called as His people. They call upon them even in ignorance. And yet He is the one to be feared and must be approached only through –“ … incense and pure offerings …”

3. God confronts the People

Mal 1:12-14  “But you profane it by saying of the Lord’s table, ‘It is defiled,’ and of its food, ‘It is contemptible.’ 13  And you say, ‘What a burden!’ and you sniff at it contemptuously,” says the LORD Almighty. “When you bring injured, crippled or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands?” says the LORD. 14  “Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king,” says the LORD Almighty, “and my name is to be feared among the nations.

Even their leaders are at fault this does not make the p[people no longer  responsible. They are.

Here the Lord’s altar is called “The Lord’s Table” prefiguring the Lord’s Supper Table.

The difficult thing with delivering the Message –is that you will be the first to be hit by it 🙂

angel-from-heaven

To the Young :

Will you now give your life to Him –when you now have high blood pressure and gout? Can you not give it to me when you were still young and vigorous?

Will you give your life to the Lord when you are already old and can no longer serve Him actively?

Will you be damaged by your wrong choices before you return to Him. Will your body be ravaged by drugs or vices before you realize that your body is just entrusted to you? Will you wait for a time to get your dreams first before entrusting to the Lord so that you can serve Him first and not last? Now is the time to serve Him.

If we give something from our hand-does what remain with us really belongs to us?- we are not owners but stewards only. for (Galatians 2:20) “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”

 And that we are –like them the Jews- are bought with a price..1 Corinthians 619 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?20 For you were bought at a price. Therefore glorify God with your body.

 To us New Covenant Christians – it is no longer a  matter of numbers  or what we think is our own- and it is no longer just because God is our Father, Master, Ruler and King –but Jesus bought us .

Application:

Now:

We are Christians-chosen by God. We are supposed to be living sacrifices and yet our talk is better than our lives. We are as guilty as they are. How can we escape said curses and judgments s? What is the difference now?

Ask ourselves-Do we give to God –because He is our Father, Master, Lord and King-and therefore deserve all we have –without returning or replacing it back? If not –then we have not understood why offerings are given to Him. –Just Because He is worthy.

 This is based on devotional from “Today God is First” –November 22:

Otto Koning-missionary to New Guinea-working with the tribe known for stealing-it is their characteristic.

House where he teach bible-kitchen utensils after they leave –get lost

Then He started a garden  of pineapples-that everytime he have to harvest –the natuives goit ahead of him-so he get angry with them.. He also have a German Shepherd dog guard the garden. For 7 years he has no single convert.

On a leave to the UShe attended a conference where he was convicted by the Lord-that he really did not own whatever he possessed now but just a steward. So when he arrived at New Guinea-he took away the dog and gave the garden to the Lord.

He still grows pineapples but he dopes not mind losing thisa to the natives. But now the natives is having some problem now. They are getting sick and some problems with their crops as well. They realize that when Otto gave the garden to God-they now have problem with God.

So they are now the who picks the fruit and gave it to Otto-and one of them said to him “You must have become a Christian after you came back to your country since you don’t get angry anymore-We always wondered if we would ever meet a Christian as you told us before.

After seven years he got his first conversion and then many came to the Lord and his garden? It now have bananas as well! He now have more success when he realized who the Owner really is. BTW –he has a Facebook fan page.

I remember the movie –the Last Samurai where Emperor Meiji –in the end asked his minister to commit seppuku and confiscate his properties to be given to the people. He has right as a demi-god. More so for a Real Living God.

saigo-takamori5

Try this –If we honor God should we honor His Ambassadors too?  Should His ambassadors look poor and wretched-or they should at least look dignified? I am talking about workers-ministers-pastors. They should not look rich like jet setters-but they should not look like paupers. Should we now address this per our own income? Should we treat him as well as a person sent by God?

So what now ?

Jesus –is the Chosen  One (Matt 12:18-19)

18 “Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight;

I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations.

Jesus –is the real priest that will not fail to be faithful:

Heb 10:8-12 First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them” (although the law required them to be made). 9 Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 10  And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11  Day after day every priest stands and performs his religious duties; again and again he offers the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12  But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God.

Jesus- He is the faithful servant who vows and continues to give it no matter until the end:

Heb 7:18-26 The former regulation is set aside because it was weak and useless . 19  (for the law made nothing perfect), and a better hope is introduced, by which we draw near to God. 20  And it was not without an oath! Others became priests without any oath, 21  but he became a priest with an oath when God said to him: “The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: ‘You are a priest forever.'”  22  Because of this oath, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant.  23  Now there have been many of those priests, since death prevented them from continuing in office; 24  but because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. 25  Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them. 26  Such a high priest meets our need–one who is holy, blameless, pure, set apart from sinners, exalted above the heavens.

Only through Him-Jesus can we be able to fulfill the obligations God gave to us . Only through Him that all the sacrifices in the Old Covenant was fulfilled and completed. We no longer need to do it and be bound by it. But to all it points to –as in our lives –we can only start doing if the Spirit of Jesus is in us.

And still we will always come short 100% and through only the mediation of Jesus’ priesthood can we face the Lord and bear His name among the nations, Gentiles and unbelievers.

Concluding  Verse:

Again remember this:

Heb 7:27  Unlike the other high priests, he does not need to offer sacrifices day after day, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people. He sacrificed for their sins once for all when he offered himself.

Here in Your presence

holy-prayer

Found in Your hands, fullness of joy

Every fear suddenly wiped away here in Your presence

All of my gains now fade away
Every crown no longer on display, here in Your presence
Heaven is trembling in awe of Your wonders
The kings and their kingdom are standing amazed

Chorus:
Here in Your presence, we are undone
Here in Your presence, Heaven and Earth become one
Here in Your presence, all things are new
Here in Your presence, everything bows before You

Bridge:
Wonderful, beautiful, glorious, matchless in every way
Wonderful, beautiful, glorious, matchless in every way