Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Best Is Yet To Come

It is normal for human beings, perhaps with the exception by choice, of priests, nuns and other religious people, to aspire to be rich in money and property because the richer a man becomes, he can have all the conveniences of life and live comfortably, which is a good and reasonable dream of every man. Towards this end, many keep themselves busy working literally day and night, retiring only to rest for a while, then repeat the same process day after day.

The wise King Solomon said:

Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have wisdom to show restraint. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle” (Prov. 23:4-5 NIV)

I have had a good lesson on this warning “do not wear yourself out to get rich”.

Graduating from high school at fourteen years old because I started my elementary grade at six years old and was accelerated from Grade IV to Grade V, and graduated High School at fourteen years old. However, my father was just a principal teacher in the Elementary level with nine children to support, so I had to stop going to college to give way to my older brother who was then on his third year in agricultural degree course at the Central Luzon Agricultural College (CLAC), now a University, with his promise that when he graduate and be employed, he would, in turn, support my studies in college.

Unfortunately, the call of love prematurely got my brother married during his fourth year, and although he was employed immediately after his graduation, he wrote our parents that he could no longer comply with his promise because his salary was just enough to support his family. Therefore, I had to stop for another year or a total of two years. On those years that I stopped going to school, I worked in our 13-hectare farm in Maniki, Kapalong, Davao del Norte, Philippines. I planted rice, corn, sugar cane and made sugar out of it; and I stripped abaca, then the prime agricultural product in Davao Province. Out of my savings, I took up vocational course of stenography and bookkeeping for six months in Davao City. By self-study, I became a fast typist—at sixty words per minute.

At the age of seventeen I was employed as stenographer-typist in the law office of Atty. Leopoldo M. Abellera, an awardee of an accolade “Lawyer of the Year” in Davao City, Philippines, during his time. My God-given extra-ordinary knowledge and skill in stenography and typewriting paved the way for my finishing my law degree. While working as stenographer-typist in the law office, I was also an instructor in Stenography in a local college where my boss was the President.

After three years, I resigned from the law office to join an American Company, the Koppel (Philippines), Inc., which was the distributor of bulldozers, caterpillar tractors, Skagit and other logging equipment and implements, logging being then the number one industry in Mindanao, Philippines. Because I had a substantial salary with fringe benefits, I supported the education of my six younger brothers and a sister. I also supported myself through college until I took the bar examination for lawyers and by God’s grace, successfully passed.

Immediately after passing the bar, I resigned my position in the company and engaged in the private practice of law, knowing from previous experience in the law office that I will earn more by private practice than just being employed. God was extremely gracious to me that out of my income, I was able to buy a lot within the City Poblacion on installment basis for five years where I was able to construct a modest multi-million home made of hollow blocks and well selected first class wooden building materials like narra, molave, tindalo, maggachapoy and dao which I gathered personally for seven years. In 1990, God allowed me to buy again on installment basis at five years, a 650 sq. meter lot in the heart of the city where I was able to build a two-storey fully concrete law office and commercial building also worth multi-million.

It was extremely hard work and sacrifice for me to be able to accomplish the above projects. I literally wore myself out to get “rich” but unfortunately in the early dawn of July 7, 2014, our residence was burned—turning all my efforts into smoke and ashes in a few minutes. And my dozen Stateside shoes – Florshiem and European shoes – Bally made in Italy – two pairs of Korean sandal – shoes I love so well, a dozen shoes all turned into ashes. But praise God, immediately with the blessing of God through my friends in Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International, Davao City Chapter, clients, and our daughter Vilma NP Nurse in California U.S.A., ten of my shoes were restored except the Bally shoes, and the two Korean genuine leather sandal – shoes, but again praise God, when I informed my Korean client what happened to the shoes he gave me, he committed to replace them when he comes back to the Philippines. God is indeed good. Indeed, King Solomon rightly said it, “Do not wear yourself out to get rich…for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle”.

The great Apostle Paul gave this advice:

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Tim. 6:6-10 NIV)

And charged his disciple Timothy and to all who are disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ:

11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 13 In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see…” (1 Tim 6:11-16 NIV)

and Paul further admonished:

“17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.” (1 Tim. 6:17-19 NIV)

Job said, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb and naked I will depart” (Job 1:21 NIV). The Apostle Paul reiterated this when he said, “For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it” (1 Tim. 6:7 NIV).
So, what should be our attitude in life toward material riches? King Solomon has an answer. He said:

“Remove far from me vanity and lies; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me; lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, who is the LORD? Or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain” (Prov. 30:8-9 KJV).

Remember, the Bible says “don’t wear yourself out to get rich”, so, if by God’s providence and grace through diligence and hard work, (but not wearing out) you become one, Praise God, for the Bible also says, “Beloved, I wish above all things, that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth” (3rd John: 2 KJV). Stated differently God wants us to prosper materially, physically and spiritually. Thus, our God is always good all the time. The best is yet to come.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Secret Of Prosperity And Success

How much do we love the Word of God or God himself, because the canonized Bible says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning”? The Bible continues, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (referring to the Lord Jesus Christ [John 1:1 & 14]).

A story is told of an elderly woman in Scotland who was living in abject poverty. Some years earlier, her son left for the U.S.A. to work there, and since then had not returned to visit his mother. A good neighbor learned that the son found a work in the U.S.A. with a lucrative salary. This neighbor asked the mother, “Does your son ever help you financially?” The mother sadly answered, “No, but he sends me pieces of paper with different pictures which I kept”. She then brought out the papers which were actually paper money of the U.S. government in different denominations and pictures. The mother did not realize that those are actually bank notes which were legal tender in the U.S.A., yet the “innocent” mother did not know that she had plenty of U.S. dollars in her possession.

Usually Christians are keeping Bibles (the Word of God) in their shelves at home gathering dust, signifying that they are Christians. However, they never read their Bible but depend only on the preaching of their priests, pastors or ministers, delivered every Sunday mass. They don’t even listen carefully to the preaching. They are more particular on the ritual of standing or sitting down when the bell rings or in making the sign of the cross as fast as they can. No offense to those whose rituals include the sign of the cross. They fail to understand that of all the books in the world, the Bible is one that will not yield up its riches more precious than silver and gold except to the diligent and faithful and earnest learner of the Word of God. Of course, it is not enough that we read the Word, but we must do or implement it in our daily life. That is why as early as of the time of Joshua, God said:

8. Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” (Joshua 1:8 NIV).

The aforequoted Word of God is the God-given formula for sure and lasting prosperity and success in life. There is no other formula known to man.

The treasures hidden in the canonized Bible are very great and beyond compare; but if we do not search for the treasures, we will never find them. If we don’t find these treasures, we cannot avail of or use them. We will remain materially and spiritually emaciated and poor. In the book of Psalms, the writer said: “I love thy commandments above gold: yea, above fine gold” (Ps. 119:127 KJV).

Wanting to be prosperous and successful? Read (even memorize your canonized Bible) and put into practice its commandments.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Smiling At The Storm

The lyric of a favorite action song among Sunday schoolers is: “With Christ in my vessel I can smile at the storm, smile at the storm… I shall not be moved.” Why and when can we smile at the storm? Only if Jesus Christ is with us. We can trust in God’s promise in his Word. “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Deut. 31:6 KJV). This promise of the Lord God the Father was reiterated by His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, our LORD and only Savior in Hebrews 13:5.

In the book of Psalms, the Bible says, “The LORD is with me; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me? The LORD is with me; he is my helper.” (Psalm 118:6-7 NIV). The Lord Jesus said, “The scriptures cannot be broken” (John 10:35). If God makes a promise, it shall be done 100%. We can trust in his promises as found in the canonized Bible, not just any bible. So whatever problems (or storms) in life, that comes our way, we will just cling to our faith in God, trusting that in the end, we shall be victorious in Jesus’ name. Thus, the Bible tells us, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28 NIV). God has a noble purpose for us believers behind all things that happen.

The Bible tells a story about Jesus Christ and his disciples experiencing an actual storm. In the King James version, which theologians agree as a translation nearest to the Greek original of the New Testament, this is the story:
22 “Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth.
23 But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy.
24 And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.
25 And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.” (Luke 8:22-25 KJV)
Notice that Jesus Christ was in the ship and as they traveled, he fell asleep signifying that he was truly human. Then there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and the ship was filled with water and was in danger of being shipwrecked. The disciples awoke Jesus telling him “Master, Master, we perish.” Jesus arose and rebuked the wind and the raging water; and the wind and the raging water ceased, and there was a calm, signifying that he is Lord over nature, or that he is also truly a divine being.

With Jesus Christ with us as we go on our life’s travel to eternity, when danger or misfortune afflicts us, we need only to call on God (Jesus Christ in person) by faith to save us from the danger confronting us, and we shall be delivered. That is how ALL powerful our God is. But we must BELIEVE and have Jesus Christ with us and we must have FULL faith in Him, even if it is as small as a mustard seed (the smallest seed in the world). He alone can provide deliverance from any and all storms of life or danger that will come along our way. “For nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). What is impossible with men is possible with God” (Luke 18:27). What is needed? The Bible answers it. Jesus Christ asked his disciples. Where is your faith? We only need FAITH in God (Jesus Christ in person). Faith in the truth of his promise, “I’ll never leave you nor forsake you.” I will add: whatever happens, don’t forsake your faith in God. Call Him and Trust Him with all your heart.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Going Through The Storms Of Life

The storms happen once in a while, but sometimes one after another in succession. These real storms are devastating both in the physical and material world and so with spiritual storms. No one wants a storm, but we have no choice, it will come to us one day and in any day. It comes often when we least expect it.

We must remember always that it is written, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble” (Job 14:1 KJV). There is no exception to this Scriptural truth! This is an exception to the adage, “In every rule there is an exception”. If you have not yet experienced any trouble or storm of life, wait till one comes your path. This is what I have learned by experience. “Experience is the best teacher.” The Answer? Christ (God) is the answer. Don’t forsake your faith in God, when spiritual storms will cross your path. Trust in God that behind the clouds the sun is still shining.

The foregoing considerations as background, we have to be prepared always, so that when the storm in our life strikes us, we can endure, come what may, like in the case of Job of Bible times. To recall, Job’s storm caused the loss of his ten children; the loss of his wealth and treasures on earth; caused him indescribable pain and discomfort due to the boils that afflicted him from the crown of his head to the sole of his feet. The situation for Job was terrible and beyond description in words. Yet, the Bible tells us: “This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned (avoided) evil” (Job 1:1).

Why did God allow the sufferings of Job? Simple: To test the faith of Job in God.

The wife of Job was not symphathetic to the deplorable situation of Job. On the contrary, she said to him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity (faith in God)? Curse God and die!”. How pathetic for Job. His own wife instead of encouraging him, unwittingly expressed her wish for Job to die! (Job 2:9 NIV), rather than see him suffer.

The reaction of Job to the storm of his life and his patience toward his wife’s attitude is worth emulating. He said, “you are talking like a foolish woman, shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:10 NIV). The Bible tells us, “Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:

Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised!”

Imagine the faith of Job in God, that in spite of his misfortune and physical sufferings, he showed patience and still praised the LORD! And the Bible concludes this chapter in the life of Job by saying: “In all this, Job did not sin by charging (or blaming) God with wrongdoing” (Job 1:20-22 NIV). In the end, the Bible tells us, “The LORD blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the first; His material wealth doubled. He had also seven sons and three daughters… Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job’s daughters… After this (tragedy). Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. And so he died, old and full of years” (Job 42:12-16 NIV).

Do we see the picture of Job? Despite his misfortune and physical and emotional sufferings without equal in human experience, he still worshipped God, and his faith in God remained steadfast and the same. This merited the inclusion of his unique story in the Bible for inspiration of, and for all generations to emulate.

Thus, the Bible on the Chapter on faith says: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him” (Heb. 11:6 NIV).

God knows what is happening and what is being done to our life from day to day and moment by moment. He had promised, “I’ll never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5 KJV). So, don’t lose faith or hope, no matter what happens to us during the storms of life. Instead, continue to earnestly seek God, for whatever He promised as reward for the faithful to the end shall be fulfilled in our lives. The best is yet to come!