Friday, April 30, 2010

A House of Prayer

When He drove away the moneychangers from the temple, the Lord Jesus cried out, “My house shall be a house of prayer” (Luke 19:46, ESV). That shows His heart for prayer.

Our Lord Jesus modeled a life of prayer Himself: “But he would withdraw to desolate places and pray.” (Luke 5:16) The Gospel of Luke even chronicled key events in the Lord’s ministry where He prayed (which the other Gospels did not point out): at His baptism by John the Baptist (3:21), the night before He chose the 12 apostles (6:12-13), before Peter’s confession (9:18-20) and at His transfiguration (9:28-29). After seeing our Lord spent time in prayer, a disciple asked him, “Lord, teach us to pray” (11:1). After predicting Peter’s denial, Jesus assured him of His prayers: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (22:31-32) In the Garden of Gethsemane, He commanded the disciples, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” (22:40) Right now, at the right hand of the Father, our resurrected Lord is praying for you and me. “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. (7:25) Our Lord Jesus gave us an example to follow. According to 1 John 2:6, “whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” The Contemporary English Version goes like this, “If we say we are his, we must follow the example of Christ.” In short, since we are His followers, our lives should be marked with prayer.

The story is told about a Christian village in Africa. Each villager had their personal prayer spots outside the village marked by foot trails through the brush. When grass began to grow over one of these trails, it was evident that the person to whom it belonged was not praying very much. Because these new Christians were concerned for each other’s spiritual welfare, a unique custom sprang up. When ever anyone noticed an overgrown ‘Prayer path,’ he or she would go to the person and lovingly warn, ‘Friend, there’s grass on your path!’(Source: http://bible.org/) I pray that we won’t have overgrown prayer paths. May we be known as people who are devoted to prayer!

Brethren, let us become a house of prayer.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tremors

The sudden surge of interest nowadays in prophecies about the end times will again be stirred and shaken with the apparent rise in earthquakes all over the globe such as the recent killer quake in the Tibetan region of China that as of the latest reportedly killed almost 600 people, wounded more than 10,000 and flattened 85% of the structures there. (Source: Yahoo! News) There are those who would even conjure a “science fiction’s ultimate doomsday scenario: A large earthquake in another part of the world ignites a long seismic fuse that races around the globe” (http://www.mercurynews.com/). But according to the US Geological Survey (USGS), this is just “an average year for earthquakes… The USGS found that since 1900, the annual average for magnitude 7.0 or higher earthquakes is 16, putting 2010 on course for a fairly normal year, with six so far. …A lot of the quakes this year have unfortunately happened in populated areas, and as a result casualties and damage are in the news… The variability year to year is very large, but the rate this year is not higher than normal. …big earthquakes don’t trigger other big earthquakes. (Ibid)

Keep in mind that our Lord Jesus assured us, “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.(Matthew 24:6-8, ESV)

Sadly, even believers tend to cause frenzy instead of faith in view of such global events. One recent prophecy conference here featured as its main speaker a best-selling fiction writer. The promotional materials about this writer made much of the fact that what he described in his novels happened. For example, he wrote about a hijacked aircraft that was on a suicide mission in an American city. The promo pointed out that he wrote it nine months before the September 11 attacks. But even Tom Clancy wrote about such kamikaze jet scenarios in his best-selling thrillers, “Debt of Honor” (1994) and “Executive Orders” (1996). So, what’s so prophetic about that? We must be careful not to interpret the Bible using news clippings or current political events. That’s one rule of interpretation, especially when it comes to Bible prophecies.

Brethren, God’s news is the Good News, not the newspapers.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

"Ang Ladlad"

“Is the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) sector really marginalized and underrepresented?” That’s my immediate thought when I heard the recent ruling of the Supreme Court allowing the “Ang Ladlad” party-list to run in the coming May 10 elections. (“Ang Ladlad” claims to be the national organization of LGBT Filipinos.) It overturned the two Comelec (Commission on Elections) resolutions denying it accreditation as a party-list because it advocates immorality and homosexuals were a threat to the youth.

But what is a party-list group anyway? According to the Republic Act No. 7941, a party-list group empowers “Filipino citizens belonging to the marginalized and underrepresented sectors, organizations and parties, and who lack well-defined political constituencies but who could contribute to the formulation and enactment of appropriate legislation that will benefit the nation as a whole, to become members of the House of Representatives.” Just look at the mass media. We have a lot of openly-gay news commentators, opinion-makers, and showbiz reporters. They are not even hiding it. They are actually flaunting their sexual preferences. If that is not clout, I don’t know what clout is. The Supreme Court ruled that Comelec was wrong in imposing its morality upon “Ang Ladlad,” which is supposedly a violation of the separation of church and state. But it should have considered the media influence of the LGBT to see that it’s not a “marginalized and underrepresented sector.”

According to their official website, “In Filipino, ‘magladlad’ means to unfurl the cape that used to cover one’s body as a shield. It means to come out of the closet, to assert one’s human rights as equal to that of the next Filipino.” Is our Bill of Rights not enough to guarantee the rights of the homosexuals as humans and Filipino equals? One of the platforms of “Ang Ladlad” is “Support for the Anti-Discrimination Bill that gives LGBT Filipinos equal rights and opportunities in employment”. Does that include employment in churches and parachurch organizations? If ever a religious group because of their moral conviction refuses to allow a homosexual to work for them, would that organization be sued for discrimination? That’s the slippery slope our country is getting into. The problem is that the LGBT sector is imposing their brand of morality upon us.

Brethren, “Righteousness exalts a nation” (Prov. 14:34, ESV).