Tuesday, January 10, 2012

When Christ Comes in Crisis

When Christ Comes in Crisis

We often feel god is close when our ship is sailing smoothly, but seldom when we are being rocked by storms. But Christ does come in storms. Sometimes, it is in the storms that His power is more manifested.

Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

“Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

Matthew 14:22-33

Sometimes God permits crisis to happen to us to show how powerful His grace is. It is in these times that God shows us He is bigger than our problems. Jesus shows us that the winds and waves of life is no competition to Him.

When our natural strengths fail, the supernatural reveals itself and takes over. In crisis, we learn to rely on God than to ourselves, for we have proven that our own effort is seldom enough to survive it. It was in the buffeting winds and waves that Peter was given the chance to walk on water. Even when we feel that the winds and waves of life are drowning us, Christ’s grace is enough for us to rise above it. And all we need is faith.

It was faith that made Peter walk on water; it was also his lack of faith that made him sink. Faith opens us to the supernatural, to the impossible. And Faith in practice is Trust. That is why Jesus always reminds us, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

Faith makes the impossible possible. Faith let God be God. And He is the God of Wonders.

Crisis shows God’s power more magnificently. Crisis also gives us the opportunity to experience that magnificent power by trusting in Christ.

Sometimes we only appreciate the Light of the World shining upon us when we are enveloped by the darkness.

Sometimes we truly appreciate Jesus when He comes to us as our Savior. When He reaches out His hand and lifts us from drowning in our misery.

Crisis are always an opportunity to encounter Christ more powerfully, more intimately.

So don’t waste the opportunity.

Jesus we trust in you.

By Daxx Bondoc

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Are You a Sheep or a Goat?

If your life would end today, would Jesus classify you as a sheep or a goat? Would you enter the Gates of Heaven or be thrown in the pit of darkness?

Matthew 25 tells the story about the end of the world, and how Jesus would separate the sheep from the goats. The sheep were those who fed the hungry, gave drink to the thirsty, clothed the naked, welcomed the strangers and visited the sick and imprisoned. The goats on the other hand were those who fail to do so. In short, those who acted like Jesus and those who did not.

The sheep were welcomed into heaven while the goats went to hell.

We do not have to wait for the end of the world to be judge if we are sheep or goats. We can objectively look at our lives and see for ourselves. Are we living a life of charity and service? Or is it a life of indifference and selfishness? Do we have eyes that see the hungry, the naked and the sick? Or are we consumed in our own little world of selfish desire and accumulation?

Goat in sheep’s clothing?

Many of us call ourselves Christians but do not act like one. Goats can never pass up as sheep because you can smell the difference a mile away. It is same for us Christians. People can smell authentic Christians from those who are only Christians by name. Many of us say we love God but fail to love our neighbor. This just cannot be, as we see in Matthew 25. Jesus, who is God made flesh said, “Whatever you did to the least of my brethren you did it to Me.”

I think we should examine carefully and honestly how we live our lives before we profess our Christianity and our love for God. People will realize if we are speaking the truth by the fruits of our lives.

Being a Christian means living a life of love and service. Period!

Excuses not to help and serve others are just simply what they are, excuses. They are excuses for our own selfishness and indifference. To fail to love and serve others is to fail to be a Christian!

In the end we are either sheep or goats, Christians or not. There is just simply NO in between.

Monday, January 2, 2012

In What Kind of Relationship Are You In? Give and Take or Give and Give?

We often hear that to be in a good relationship there has to be a “give and take” within the partners. But I think sometimes the “give and take” mentality can get old quick because it has a tendency to be selfish. I give so I can take. Their giving becomes an indirect egotism.

St Thomas Aquinas defines love as to will the good of the other as other. There is no hidden agenda in real love. You love the person for the sake of the person and not because you can get something out of the person.

A real loving relationship practices “give and give.” There is no need for taking because the longings are being satisfied by the partner even before the other asks for it. A person who is deeply in love is focused on her beloved and not on himself. He wants to make his beloved happy. He puts her before himself every time in every thing. And she does the same.

Both are satisfied and fulfilled.

Both feel loved.

Most of us when we are considering entering into a relationship with someone ask this question, “What can I get from this person?” Another way of putting it is “What can this person give me?”

I think we should have a radical change of attitude if we want to experience real and lasting love. We must change the question “What can I get” to “What can I give to this person?”

The best example of this love is Jesus on the Cross. When Jesus let Himself get crucified, it was solely for you and me. There was no hidden agenda on Jesus’ suffering except our salvation. It was a totally selfless act. Jesus died because He loved you and me.

So if we want to have a beautiful relationship, we must learn to love like Jesus. Our love has to be totally unselfish and self-giving.

There is no greater love than to give one’s life for a friend.

By Daxx Bondoc