Saturday, October 25, 2014

Trusting In The Promises of God

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

The Apostle Peter said, “Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21 NIV).

The Holy Spirit speaking through the Prince of all Prophets Isaiah, moved the latter to prophesy:

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isa. 9:6 NIV).

About nine hundred years after Isaiah made the prophecy, the Lord Jesus Christ was born in a manger. Thus, was fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah.

Isaiah further prophesied:

2He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
4Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted.
5But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
6We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
7He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
8By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants?
For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken.
9He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10Yet it was the LORD’S will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
11After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.
12Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isa. 53:2-12 NIV)

On the other hand, the prophet Zechariah prophesied about the crucifixion of this child who is Jesus Christ:

And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they have pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child, and grieve bitterly for him as one grieves for a first born son” (Zech. 12:10 NIV).

This prophecy again refers to the Lord Jesus Christ and to his death by crucifixion.

These prophecies are but some of the more than 300 written in the Bible. Many of these have been fulfilled already. Some have yet to happen and be fulfilled in God’s timetable. The book of Revelation is replete with future promises and events yet to happen. These will be a proper subject to discuss later, not now.

In the article published in the October 18, 2014 (Saturday), issue of our one and only bulletin all over the world, I discussed that Jesus Christ is God himself in the flesh. The Bible says, “The WORD became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14 NIV).

Then, the Lord Jesus Christ himself said and promised:

“1Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 In my Father's house are many rooms (mansions KJV); if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4You know the way to the place where I am going." (John 14:1-4)

If Jesus (God) promises something, 100% it shall come to pass.

If we are a child or disciple of Jesus Christ (God in the flesh) we know the place He referred to in verse 4 - - HEAVEN the abode or residence of God where every child of God will enjoy and spend eternity. If we don’t, we are not children or disciples of Jesus Christ (God in the flesh).

Jesus’ most important promise to the believer or Christian is: “I WILL COME BACK AND TAKE YOU TO BE WITH ME THAT YOU ALSO MAY BE WHERE I AM” (vs. 3). Are we still afraid to die? Not, if we are a child of God, because we can trust fully 100% the promises of God, and the aforequoted promise is the most important. We, with our Father on earth and more so with our Father in heaven, feel safe and secure because we can trust fully the promises of our God, through our LORD and Savior Jesus Christ.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

God's Formula for Prosperity and Success

Everybody wants to be prosperous and successful. Whatever be our mission, work, project business, profession, or endeavor in life, religious or secular, it is but normal that our dream is to be prosperous and successful.

Joshua, who was chosen by, and trained successor of, Moses the man of God, was given by God the formula for prosperity and success in his mission – to possess the promised land which was inhabited by giants. Compared to the inhabitants of the promised land, the Israelites were like grasshoppers (Numbers 13:33). How then in the world can Joshua possess the land which was then occupied by giants and ruled by a total of thirty one (31) kings? Here was the instruction of God:

I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses. Your territory will extend from the desert to Lebanon, and from the great river, the Euphrates—all the Hittite country—to the Mediterranean Sea in the west. No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.
Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. (Joshua 1:3-7 NIV)”

Analyzing the promise and instructions of God to Joshua, the essential requisites for the success of his mission were:

1. The abiding presence of God. Thus, God said, “I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you”;

2. Strength and courage in facing the problems of life. God said, “Be strong and courageous”. He repeated this instruction by adding, for emphasis, the word “VERY” courageous – not just courageous.

3. Obedience to the laws or commands of God. “Be careful to obey ALL the law my servant Moses gave you” – no right or left turn – go straight.

4. Meditate on the Law of God, all the time (“day and night”).

8God said, “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)

5. “Be careful to do everything written in it”. It is not enough to know or memorize the Word of God. We must Do it. Leave no stone unturned.


The success of the gigantic mission of Joshua depended on his following the instructions and commands or injunctions of God. If he succeeds, then as night follows day, Joshua and the Israelites people shall prosper and be successful not only to conquer the promised land, but to be with, and join, God in paradise or heaven.

Of course, there were many intervening factors on the conquest of the promised land, as there are innumerable problems of life, as we strive to be a true disciple of God. For example, in the case of the Israelites, there was the episode of Achan who violated the instruction of the Lord God. Achan confessed:

19 Then Joshua said to Achan, "My son, give glory to the LORD, the God of Israel, and give him the praise. Tell me what you have done; do not hide it from me." 20 Achan replied, "It is true! I have sinned against the LORD, the God of Israel. This is what I have done: 21 When I saw in the plunder a beautiful robe from Babylonia, two hundred shekels of silver and a wedge of gold weighing fifty shekels, I coveted them and took them. They are hidden in the ground inside my tent, with the silver underneath." (Joshua 7:19-21 NIV)

Oftentimes the failure of man is due to covetousness, or the desire to be rich in property or material things rather than spiritual endeavor, or riches toward God.

God does not want anyone to be greedy for gain or to steal. God’s formula for success is to succeed slow by slow, step by step, little by little, and by diligence and hard and honest work.

What happened to Achan?

24 Then Joshua, together with all Israel, took Achan son of Zerah, the silver, the robe, the gold wedge, his sons and daughters, his cattle, donkeys and sheep, his tent and all that he had, to the Valley of Achor. 25 Joshua said, "Why have you brought this trouble on us? The LORD will bring trouble on you today." Then all Israel stoned him, and after they had stoned the rest, they burned them. 26 Over Achan they heaped up a large pile of rocks, which remains to this day. Then the LORD turned from his fierce anger. Therefore that place has been called the Valley of Achor ever since.” (Joshua 7:24-26 NIV)

Those who are greedy for material rather than spiritual wealth will eventually lose everything, including their life, and shall not enter the paradise promised and reserved by God to His “children”. Think and do spiritual things, balanced with our secular activities.

What is our personal mission in life?

Whatever, let us do it step by step, let’s not be in a hurry – slow by slow, little by little. Let us be diligent and honest in performing our task, whether secular or spiritual.

King David after whose name the City of God was named “City of David” started as a Shepherd boy, a lowly means of livelihood, until he became King. So with Joseph of the Old Testament. He was a Shepherd boy but having obeyed God and very honest at that, he became the Prime Minister of Egypt, second in command to the King, which nation was then the most powerful in the known world.

Thus, the best executive, as some FGBMFI members are, or have been, are those who begin at a very low key position because they know the ABC of the business. This kind of a man will have a large and understanding heart to the problems of his subordinates because he passed their way once upon a time. This is God’s guaranteed formula for prosperity and success in life.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Plant Now, Reap Later

There is a Tagalog (Pilipino) adage, “Kung mayroon kang itinanim mayroon kang aanihin” (in English “If you plant something you will also reap”.)

At dawn (1:00 A.M.) of July 7, 2014 (Monday dawn in the Philippines), our house beside the Davao City Foursquare Gospel Church, the first Foursquare Church established in Mindanao by American missionaries Rev. Arthur and Evelyn “Nanay” Thompson, in the early 50’s, from whence came out almost two thousand daughter churches all over Mindanao as of today, was cruelly gutted down by fire due to electrical faulty wiring, so the Fire Department call it.

Among the numerous treasures, beside the sentimental value of our home, that I lost was a Mont Blanc ball pen worth P20,000.00 (in pesos) given to me as gift many years ago, by my youngest brother, Benigno “Benjil” D. Cariaga, IV. Benjil, is the nickname given by our late mother to my brother who was under my support from first year high school up to college, because our father by then, have passed away. He worked for a time in my modest law office as my clerk-typist up to the day that a client asked me if he could employ him as clerk in his business enterprise. Of course, I was only too glad to accommodate my client and release my brother. Thereafter, he self-supported himself until he finished his college degree in Commerce.

Then, to cut a long story short, he was taken in by Sycip Gorres Velayo Auditing Office. This prestigious auditing firm was the private accounting firm engaged by then President of the Philippines, Ferdinand E. Marcos. Not long after, the auditing firm sent him to Saudi Arabia where until now he still works.

Without my asking, many years before today, in one of his rare visit to the Philippines, he gave me a Mont Blanc ball pen worth at that time, I was told, the equivalent of twenty thousand pesos as gift (in Tagalog “pasalubong”). The trouble with this ball pen is that its filler is worth a little less than P400.00 and it is only available in Makati City in Metro Manila, Philippines. For all the years that my youngest brother lived and worked with me, he must have noticed that being a full-time busy practitioner of the law profession, I earn my living by writing numerous pleadings and letters everyday. I simply cannot go along without writing almost everyday. Perhaps, I surmised, as his payment for his debt of gratitude for his success in life for which I may have contributed something, out of love, he gifted me with that most treasured ball pen.

In the book of Romans, it is said, “Owe no man anything, but to love one another: …” In Pilipino language, “Huwag kang mag-utang maliban sa utang na loob”.

My sadness is beyond description in words when at early dawn on July 7, 2014, my most treasured ball pen turned into smoke and ashes when our residential house which I built in seven years like the city of Rome, got burned. This brother of mine was my companion in gathering the special manggachapoy lumber given by a client from Kialeg, Bansalan, Davao del Sur, Philippines – a distance of more than 60 kms. from Davao City.

When my brother learned from my daughter, Atty. Susan, that my most treasured ball pen got burned, besides allegedly expressing his deep sympathy with a sob, he committed to send a replacement. Indeed, by the second week of September 2014, a package arrived with a ball pen exactly the same as the one that was burned. I was told, the cost was now the equivalent of thirty thousand pesos. My joy is beyond expression in words. Praise God! I used it to write the draft of this article.

The wise king Solomon said, “Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again” (Ecclesiastes 11:1 NIV). When I supported my brother in his quest for education because he was only twelve years old when our father have gone to be with our LORD, I spent for his education without expecting anything in return. This, to me, was “casting my bread upon the waters”. When a literal bread is thrown upon the waters, of course, we don’t expect it to be fit for food again, but it is lost forever. But to me, there is a spiritual meaning of “for after many days you will find it again”. Yes, I have found my treasured Mont Blanc “after so many days”.

My brother is now in his 40’s but still he is working in Saudi. Perhaps he is a diligent worker so that his employer kept him there for good.

I have seven brothers and a sister. Our eldest was supported by me financially in his 4th year in college because his girlfriend suddenly arrived at his dormitory and refused to “go home” so my brother was forced to marry her. Since then my father was discouraged, and I had to stop going to school to allow him to continue his studies. Praise God, all their four children are now professionals, two are abroad and are gainfully employed; one work with a solid prestigious commercial bank in the Philippines, and the youngest is a Civil Engineer employed in the DPWH in our Philippine government.

My seven younger siblings were financially supported by me also in their quest for educational degree because our father who was a Principal in the public school, the only bread earner in our big family, had passed away.

Again, the wise King Solomon continued, “Give portions to seven, yes to eight, for you do not know what disaster may come upon the land” (Ecclesiastes 12:2 NIV).

When I helped my eight siblings in their quest for education, I had no idea as to who will respond to me in my time of “disaster”. And, of course obviously, I did not know that someday my own family will be a “fire victim”. Out of them all, only one responded - the one who gave me my treasured ball pen. The rest (three of whom have already passed away), merely visited me expressing their deep sympathy, nothing more nothing less. Praise God anyway. That is enough moral support and consolation to me.

I am reminded of the story in the Bible of ten Jewish lepers who were healed by our Lord Jesus Christ. After they were healed, they excitedly ran to report their healing to the priest as instructed by the LORD Jesus. Only one of them, a Samaritan at that (a non-Jew), came back to thank the Lord Jesus. Whereupon the Lord Jesus asked, “Were there not ten of you who were healed, where are the nine?” Nothing more I can add or subtract.

The Bible indeed is true. The Lord Jesus said, “Give, and it shall be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you” (Luke 6:38 NIV). Plant now as much as you can and later you will reap abundantly.