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Tuesday, February 28: “Stranger Among Us”

John 1: 26: “John answered them saying, I baptize in water, but among you stands One Whom you do not know.”  How much this reflects the state of society today!  Christ is among us, but we do not see Him yet.  John the Baptist himself was not pointing Him out at this point, because Jesus had not yet been revealed even to him.  We the Church, like John, are to cry “Behold the Christ!” but like John, we must recognize and know Him before we can ever show Him to anyone.

Monday, February 27: “Qualified for Jealousy”

Deuteronomy 6: 15:  “For the Lord your God in the midst of you is a jealous God.”  Why does God get to be jealous when He repeatedly speaks against it (Galatians 5: 20, Romans 13: 13, et al)?  Basically we confuse jealousy with envy, which are actually two different things.  Envy or covetousness is when you strongly desire something that belongs to someone else. God warns us against this, and He doesn’t go there either.  Jealousy is when someone takes what belongs to you and offers it to another, as when we offer the worship that belongs to God alone to someone or something else.  Thus God cannot be envious because He owns everything already, and He alone has the right to jealousy, for exactly the same reason.  We, on the other hand, are not qualified for jealousy, because nothing is truly ours.

Friday, February 24: “True Girl Power”

Ruth 3: 11:  “And now, my daughter, do not fear.  I will do for you whatever you ask, for all my people in the city know that you are a woman of excellence.”  Ruth had been with Boaz from the beginning of the barley harvest till its end, a period of just a very few weeks.  Yet in that short time she had become known throughout the whole city as a woman of excellence.  How?  Humility (2: 13), willingness to work hard (2: 17), generosity (2: 18), submission (2: 23), awareness of personal appearance (3: 3), being in control of her passions (3: 10) - these are some of the characteristics of Ruth that made her stand out, even in a foreign land.  And they will still mark you as a woman (or man) of excellence today.

Thursday, February 23:  “Special Delivery”

2 Corinthians 3: 2-3a: “You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us ...”  St. Paul and his team were so passionate about shepherding the flock of God entrusted to them, they could confidently say to the world, “Look at our sheep, and you will see how well we love, feed, and care for them.”  Bishops, priests, deacons, pastors of today: can we meet this standard of pastoral care over our flocks?  There is only one way we can accomplish this: having our confidence “through Christ toward God.” (v. 4)

Wednesday, February 22: “Good News: God is Watching You!”

Psalm 119: 168: “I keep Your precepts and Your testimonies, for all my ways are before You.”  At first, this seems like the old 19th century “scare ‘em outta hell” theology: “You’d better do right, because Big Brother Jesus is watching you!” But the psalmist is actually expressing a desire born out of love.  If you know the God you love is watching, then every moment becomes an opportunity to please Him.  And it certainly beats the attitude of the wicked after he has killed the innocent, as recorded in Psalm 10: “God has forgotten; He has hidden His face; He will never see it.”

Tuesday, February 21: “Waiting for Armageddon?”

Matthew 5: 18: “For truly I say to you, until Heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law until all is accomplished.”  We must not read this verse as a promise of destruction, both cosmic and terrestrial.  Look closely at Jesus’ words: It would be as if we said, “Until a team from the local barangay junior league wins the NBA Finals, nothing in the Law will change.”  It is His way of saying, “This ain’t gonna happen!  He puts it more clearly in Luke 16: 17: “But it is easier for Heaven and earth to pass away than for one stroke of a letter of the Law to fail.”

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