The bigleaf hydrangea is a unique flowering shrub. “If you take the seed of that shrub and plant it in the soil of Indiana, it will yield pink flowers when it blooms. But if you take that same seed and plant it in the soil of Brazil or Poland, it will produce blue flowers. Even more interesting, if you take the same seed and plant it in another type of soil, it will yield purple flowers.” (Source: Frank Viola, “Reimagining Church”) Botanists attribute that strange behavior to the different PH levels of the soils where the hydrangea is planted.
When I read that, I thought, “What a great picture of the New Year!” Every year is one of a kind. Life when it becomes too predictable becomes boring. We heard it so often that the saying became a well-worn cliché but still it is true: “The only thing constant in life is change.” (Someone quipped, “Also taxes and death.”) This year’s blue flower may be next year’s pink flower. For example, what worked for us this 2010 may not work in 2011. What is tried-and-tested now can become trite tomorrow. Yes, definitely there are some things in life that should not be changed. Someone wrote, “Principles are few. Procedures, many. Principles are constant, procedures change.” We are not to change our message but we could and should change our methods when it is called for. Of course, we will not embrace change for change’s sake. We change because God designed life that way. In fact, God balanced constancy and change perfectly: “The LORD’s unfailing love and mercy still continue, fresh as the morning, as sure as the sunrise.” (Lamentations 3:22-23, GNB)
So, we need wisdom to discern what needs to be constant and what needs to change. So, as we face the New Year, draw up a list. (You may use the discussion guide at the back.) Fold a paper into two. On the left side, write the word“Constant” at the top. On the right side, write the word “Change.” Ask yourself: “What are the things that should remain constant in my life?” and “What are those that should change?” For example, under “Constant” you may write, “Commitment to the family.”Write the values that are non-negotiable as far as you are concerned. What are the things that you must continue? Under “Change,” you may write, “Serve in the church. Join a Circle of Care.” What are the things that you must start or stop? Keep in mind that every moment of our lives is actually a fresh opportunity for change from God.
Brethren, think of the hydrangea as we celebrate the New Year!
Relax. This is not one of those “halloween-is-pagan-not-for-Christians” articles. This is not even about trick or treat. This devotional article is about a historical event that is way much more significant. I’m talking about the Reformation. Next year, this coming October 31, 2017, is the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing of his 95 Theses (or Propositions) against the sale of Catholic indulgences on the Castle Church door at Wittenberg, Germany. That’s the spark that has set ablaze the Reformation, even though there were people before Luther who also spoke against the unbiblical teachings prevalent at that time.
In 1515, as he struggled with his lack of righteousness before God, Luther was reflecting on this verse: “For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’” (Romans 1:17) Here was his key to spiritual certainty: “Night and day I pondered,” Luther later recalled, “until I saw the connection bet…
I have my strong, personal opinion regarding this Marcos burial issue at the Libingan ng Mga Bayani. But I chose not to comment or post as much online and offline knowing that it won’t please people from either side of the fence. I also have people I love from both sides. This issue is divisive. It could actually divide (if we are not yet divided) our nation, our churches and our families. I am under no illusion that this article could solve the issue. But I would like to call our attention beyond the issue.
One time, the Lord Jesus gave a seeming insensitive answer to an apparent reasonable request. To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:59-60, ESV. Emphasis added)What was that disciple requesting? If his father was already dead, he would have been making the necessary funeral arrangements already. It appears tho…
Nick Russell Oniot, an 18-year-old architecture student from Adamson University, could have been alive today. Last October 14 about 11PM, two suspects tried to grab Oniot’s backpack. He tried in vain to fend them off. One of the suspects brutally murdered the victim, stabbing him 18 times. CCTV captured the entire crime.
What happened next was equally tragic. Shiela, the sister of the victim, “lamented the final moments of Nick, slumped on the pavement in his bloodied uniform, as bystanders did not even bother to check him or call for help.”  It is sad not because nobody played the hero that fatal night. It was late at night and it appears no one else was around when the stabbing happened. It is sad because nobody played the role of the Good Samaritan while Nick pleaded for help when in fact there were already onlookers. Moments before that, the CCTV showed Nick fighting off his attackers who stabbed him. They only left Nick alone when a jeepney and a van passed by. Nick tried to …