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Day 18: Spiritual Food in Quarantine

“God Always Leads Us In Triumph” (2 Cor 2:14) “Thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.” Paul had just talked about the excessive burden he and his fellow missionaries experienced and the afflictions that crushed them beyond their ability to endure and made them think they were going to die. But it has taught them to lose all faith in themselves and to put all their trust in God who has rescued them from terrifying encounters with death. Fearful, overwhelmed and uncertain? May we like Paul learn to look to God who always leads us in triumph. That’s the unseen but sure hope we have. Although God

“Superiority of Service”

Exodus 7: 12: “For each one threw down his staff and they turned into serpents. But Aaron’s staff swallowed up their staffs.” Who was the real servant? Aaron was the servant of God and His people, Pharaoh’s wise men and sorcerers served Pharaoh. Whose swallowed up the others?

Day 17: Spiritual Food in Quarantine

“My Help Comes From The Lord” (Ps 121, Ps 123, Exo 5:1-6:1) The Israelites in Exodus 5 were in great distress. Their obligations remained the same but their provisions were diminished. We can all probably relate to this. May we have this attitude - “as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, so our eyes look to Lord until He is gracious to us.” Our help comes from the Lord. Sometimes we ask God “why?” Sometimes God doesn't give an answer. We may not be certain about some things, but we are certain about one thing: the Lord our God is with us. Even through the valley of the shadow of death, we don’t have to fear. He will never leave us. Sometimes it would seem like He is asleep

“Encouragement to Service”

1 Corinthians 14: 26: “What is the outcome then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.” After two thousand years, this scripture has finally been fulfilled—on social media in these last few weeks. Just replace the word “assemble” with “go on line.” Which are the good ones? Those that urge you to service of others (Ephesians 4: 12, Hebrews 10: 25).

Day 16: Spiritual Food in Quarantine

“Let All Things Be Done For Edification” (1 Cor 14:1-19, Mk 9:20-41) Before he wrote 3 short letters containing the word “love” 33 times, John was not exactly loving. He and brother James wanted to fry Samaritans with fire from heaven just because they would not allow them into their territory. In Mark 9, he grilled someone casting out demons in Jesus’ name just because he was not of their number. Love is the motive behind a desire to build up others. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 14 that he would rather speak 5 productive words than 10,000 unproductive ones. It’s so easy to see the speck in another’s eye and miss the log in our own. When we do, we babble meaningless, even hurtful, rhetoric and

“Scope of Service”

Mark 9: 28: “If anyone wants to be first, he shall be last of all, and servant of all.” What is the goal of a Christian life? To be successful, to invade the gates of heaven, to make Abraham and Solomon seem impoverished in comparison with our multitudinous blessings? Jesus neither taught it nor lived it that way. Like His, our goal is service, to be on the giving end, not the receiving end. As to volume, the recipients of our service should not be a few chosen compatriots, but, as it says here, ALL. So who said following Jesus was easy?

5th Sunday in Lent: Proclamation of Profitable Life

Ezekiel 37:1-14 Psalm 130 Romans 8:8-11 John 11:18-27 The theme for this Fifth Sunday in Lent is “Proclamation of Profitable Life”. God is the Source of life. He is the Lord of life. Nothing and no one can take away this life that God has given because He owns us. All men have fears. It may be a fear of height, fear of uncertainty, fear of insects, fear of the future or the greatest fear of them all which is the fear of death. Right now, there is a fear or a scare brought about by this invisible virus that causes anxiety among people. I have good news for everyone! Jesus is Lord over death! He has conquered death, hell and the grave. In Hebrews 2:14-15, it says that Jesus was made inca

Day 15: Spiritual Food in Quarantine

Exo 3:16-4:12 (Daily Office of Morning Prayer) God told Moses from the burning bush that He was truly concerned about His people being oppressed in Egypt and that He would bring them up out of affliction. And that they would not leave empty-handed without plundering Egypt. May our goal not be to just survive this pandemic and then continue to merely exist. May we realize that God is using this adverse situation to cause us to come out of it not empty-handed, but with abundant life. That is, not just with recovered livelihoods but with His likeness which is what really satisfies and makes life full (Ps 17:15). May the quarantine teach us selflessness, consideration of others, unity and solida

Day 14: Spiritual Food in Quarantine

“Through Our God We Shall Do Valiantly” (Ps 108:13, Mk 9:14-29) The disciples, despite good efforts and intentions, could not drive the mute spirit out of a boy. After casting it out Himself, Jesus told His puzzled friends, “this kind cannot come out by anything but prayer. The virus that’s spreading is a destructive threat to the life God gave. It is an enemy. Well-meaning people selflessly labor to fight it. Their struggle is very much appreciated. However, as the Psalmist says, “deliverance by man (man’s ability alone) is in vain.” Frontline workers continue to be at risk and the curve continues to rise despite protective measures. It may be overwhelming, but Jesus promised that this enem

“Aware of God’s Creation”

Psalm 33: 6-9: “By the Word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of His mouth all their hosts. He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap; He lays up the deeps in storehouses. Let all the earth fear the Lord; let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spoke, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast.” Taking the time to look at creation develops fear and awe of God, which is the only attitude with which we can approach Him. Could the irreverence so prevalent today be because we don’t bother to look up and see the trees once in a while?

Day 13: Spiritual Food in Quarantine

“A More Excellent Way” “Concerning spiritual gifts, I do not want you to be unaware,” says St. Paul. He wants us to be aware not just of what the gifts are, but more so Whom the gifts are from. He cautions against the tendency to value the gift more than the Source, to worship the creature rather than the Creator. We should be excited about getting the spirit of the Bestower rather than the gifts themselves. That way, we understand their purpose. That’s why a whole chapter on love, which is the very nature of the Spirit, is included in the epistle. Love desires the benefit of others, the common good. Without it, all achievements, no matter how remarkable, amount to nothing. God gave gifts to

“Aware of Our Motivation”

1 Corinthians 13: 3: “And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.” Having said all this, we must nevertheless remember that awareness is not the goal of our lives. It is but a fruit, which is itself a means to a greater end. True spiritual awareness is a fruit of love, and it leads to man’s ultimate purpose: the manifestation of the Kingdom of God.

Day 12: Spiritual Food in Quarantine

“Who do you say I am?” Someone in our Bible study long ago asked whether a person in a coma who has no ability to speak can be saved, considering the verse, “if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord … you will be saved.” It was ridiculously dogmatic and stemmed from a familiar misunderstanding of the word “saved” as synonymous to “going to heaven” and the role of Jesus as the passport. The Bible uses the word “saved” to mean physical healing, rescue from a present danger, deliverance from the world’s perversion, coming to the knowledge of the truth, etc. Ultimately, though, it means renewal of life toward its fullness as God intended. Jesus is Savior in that He is and shows the way

“Aware of Our Co-laborers”

1 Corinthians 12: 18: “But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body, just as He desired.” As St. Paul said in v. 1, he doesn’t want us to be unaware of spiritual gifts—ours, or those of our brothers and sisters. It is through awareness of each other’s strengths, weaknesses, and callings that we work more effectively as a body. One heads-up, however; this kind of awareness comes only through actual interaction.

Day 11: Spiritual Food in Quarantine

Gen 50:15-21 After having been forgiven by Joseph for their wrong, his brothers still feared he expected payback. It reflects our misunderstanding of God’s character and justice. Joseph, a type of Christ, forgave them again. He even wept when they asked for forgiveness, whether in remorse or in fear of punishment. Then he explained who the true God is, one who turns what was meant for evil to good. And promised to provide for them, comforted them and spoke kindly to them. God doesn’t count men’s sins against them (2 Cor 5:19). He is faithful and just/righteous to forgive and cleanse from all wrongs (1 Jn 1:9). On top of not meting out the penalty we deserve, He gives us the good we don’t des

“Aware of Our Source”

Wisdom 9: 9: “With You is wisdom, who knows Your words and was present when You made the world, and who understands what is pleasing in Your sight according to Your commandments.” When Solomon searched for wisdom, he knew where to look: toward the very throne of God. Do we ever look up from the pseudo-wisdom we ingest in copious amounts from innumerable blogs and posts long enough to hear God’s wisdom, straight from His heart to ours?

Day 10: Spiritual Food in Quarantine

1 Cor 11:17ff St. Paul was not happy. The Corinthian church meetings were doing more harm than good because of divisions. While there shouldn’t be, he admitted divisions happen sometimes to reveal who are in the right. I totally agree. God brings the good even out of the mess we make .... on the one hand. On the other hand, out of 60 translations I checked out, 1 offers a different perspective. It says, “Do you really think you need to take sides? You probably think God favors one side over the other!” I wrote in yesterday’s reflection that God made us one. If in a dissension, your motive is to show you are the party approved by God, then that just may be the reason you won’t be. You don’t h

“Aware of the Suffering”

Mark 8: 2: “I feel compassion for the multitude because they have remained with me now three days, and have nothing to eat.” Although having just completed a grueling three-day revival campaign and being totally exhausted, Jesus was very aware of the needs the multitudes still had. Are we aware, not so much of the suffering seen on our screens, but of that encountered when we bother to look up from them?

Day 9: Spiritual Food in Quarantine

“Flatten the curve.” That’s what we have been told in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. It means lessen the projected number of people who will get infected. Community quarantine is a very effective way to accomplish it. While in seclusion, may we contemplate flattening another curve - that of inequality. Ephesians 2 says Jesus has made the two groups (Jews and Gentiles) one and has torn down the dividing wall of hostility, creating in Himself one new humanity. There is no more Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female. So there should not be worthy or unworthy, privileged or underprivileged. We have been made one humanity. We have learned through a microscopic virus that what we do aff

“Aware of the Offspring”

Genesis 49: 28: “All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father said to them when he blessed them. He blessed them, every one with the blessing appropriate to him.” Although Jacob could seem pretty oblivious concerning his children when they were younger, it is uncanny how accurate he was in giving the “appropriate blessing” to each of them at the end of his life. How do we know our children—from actual flesh and blood interaction, or from inane online games based on astrology and other speculation?

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