The Terrible Week

Daniel’s Seventieth Week—ang isa sa mga magiging pinakagila-gilalas na pagkilos (hindi dahil mayroong medyo hindi kagila-gilalas, kundi dahil buong mundo ang makakakita sa gagawin) ng Panginoon sa kasaysayan ng mundo. Kahanga-hanga—hindi dahil napakaganda ng gagawin Niya, kundi dahil napakasalimuot nito.

Ang Daniel’s 70th Week ay hindi linggo kundi mga taon—pitong taon—na puno ng paghihiganti, pagpaparusa at galit ng Dios sa mga taong hindi nananampalataya sa Kanya at nang-uusig sa Kanyang mga pinili. Sabi sa aklat ng Daniel at Pahayag, at Matthew, kung lalagpas pa ito sa pitong taon ay walang matitirang nilalang. Napakaterible talaga ng “linggong” ito.

Buti na lamang hindi ako mapapasama dito. At alam ko na ikaw, ikaw na nakakilala na sa Panginoong Jesus, ay hindi na hahayaan ng Dios na masama sa matinding pighating ito. Kaya naalala ko ang sinabi ni Pablo sa 2 Corinto 9:15: “Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift.” Kung wala akong masabi sa tindi ng 70th week na ito, mas lalo nang wala akong maibigkas sa ginawa Niya sa Krus na nagligtas sa akin mula sa sana’y kapahamakang nag-aabang sa akin—sa Impyerno.

Advertisements

Ligtas Ka Na Ba?

Ligtas ka na ba? Kung bihira ka lang siguro dumadalo sa simbahan, magiging kakaiba para sa iyo ang tanong na ito. O sige, padaliin natin. Kung sakali bang dumating sa iyo ang kamatayan sigurado ka na sa Langit ka pupunta?

Hindi ito napag-uusapan sa pang-araw-araw nating buhay, ngunit ang kahalagahan nito ay napakalaki—ito ang magdidikta ng susunod mong buhay.

So, hindi pa natitiyak? Sinasabi sa Bible na ikaw ay makasalanan (Romans 3:23), nakatakdang pumunta ng Impyerno para pagbayaran ito (Revelation 21:8). Sa kabutihang palad, namatay si Jesus para sa iyong kasalanan (Romans 5:8), at kapag nagsisi ka at tumanggap ka sa Kanya bilang Tagapagligtas at matitiyak mo na ang pagpunta sa Langit (Matthew 4:17; John 1:12).

Kailan mo ito gagawin? Mas mabuting ngayon na.

Mercy’s War by Jon Foreman

God is not silent, nor is He dead, as many unbelievers of Him say. He still fights, He’s still in a war, but in a different kind of war. The weapon He uses today are not swords and guns, but mercy, shown in the love displayed by our Lord Jesus. Jon Foreman’s writing prowess here is at its best and masterpiece-like state.

I was looking for excuses
And You offered me my soul
In the name of all my weakness
In the name of rock and roll
By His sickness I am healed
Because they broke You, I am whole
O the wonderful blood of Jesus

I went looking for the fig leaves
And You asked me what they’re for
I was building up a wall
And You offered me a door
I was hoping for silver spoons
When You handed me a sword—
O the wonderful blood of Jesus!

Maker is unmade
Love succumbs to hate
Life himself is slain
Is death the only way?
Is death the only way?

I went looking for religion
Absolutely not a friend
I went looking for ways out
And You showed me the way in
I went looking for a ghost
And instead I found a Man—
O the wonderful blood of Jesus!

Felt like I was at the end
Felt like giving up on life
I talked about Your mother
And denied You once or twice
I plucked out Your beard
Put a sword into Your side—
O the wonderful blood of Jesus!

Life and love are atoned
By the blades of all our swords
We cut the final cord
But this is mercy’s war.

I was chasing after safety
When my world went up in flames
I watched all my defenses
Washed like ashes down the drain
I thought You were a stranger
But You called me out by name—
O the wonderful blood of Jesus!

Your wounds were gaping open
I couldn’t recognize You at first
All I had to offer
Was an insult or a curse
The blood dripped down like poison
On the nauseated earth—
O the wonderful blood of Jesus!

This is mercy’s war

This is mercy’s war

This is mercy’s war
O the wonderful blood of Jesus!

“Mercy’s War” is from The Wonderlands: Dawn EP, released 2015. © Atlantic/Lowercase People Records.

Patron Saint of Rock ‘n Roll by Jon Foreman

Cry_of_the_Masses_WWW-VACHAL-CZ

“Rock ‘n Roll” people is a term used for the desperate sinners, the needy, the poor, the outcasts. Who is their patron saint? I believe that it is not the statues of Catholic saints, but the ones who profess Christ. We are the saints that should come to them and bring them to God. Jon Foreman laments that we are not being what we are supposed to be.

I saw the patron saints
Parade down city hall
I saw the patron saints
For the handsome, rich, and tall

I felt so out of place
Appalling and appalled
They all drew away
And there was no one left to call…

 

I stood and watched the parade
Crowded in the back
I couldn’t see a thing
Through the patriotic flag

The huddled masses and me
Disillusioned in the rain, wondering
What America means
When I feel so out of place…

 

Cause there ain’t no surrogate saviour for my soul
There ain’t no patron saint for rock and roll.

 

Sometimes I feel lonely
Devilish and old
As if my congregation
Were the bitter cold
And my hymnal
Feels like it’s got holes
Christ alone could save my soul!

There’s a park downtown
Where the homeless get ignored,
Where the church next door is a crowd
Singing blessed “Blessed are the poor,”
Where the mercedes drive away
Muttering, “druggies, drunks, and whores”
Where the bumper sticker displays
“My co-pilot is the Lord”…

 

But there ain’t no surrogate saviour for my soul
There ain’t no patron saint for rock and roll.

 

“Patron Saint of Rock ‘N Roll” is from The Wonderlands: Sunlight EP, released 2015. © Atlantic/Lowercase People Records.

 

How Can I Win My Family?

Alam ni Mrs. Olivia Abanto kung paano

MAAARING KABILANG TAYO sa mga Cristiano na naunang maligtas sa ating pamilya. Kung nag-iisa ka lang na Cristiano, isang mahirap na pakikibaka ang dapat mong harapin. Kadalasan ay mas nabibigyang halaga pa natin ang ibang kaluluwa kaysa kaluluwa ng ating mga kadugo. Una sa lahat dapat natin silang bigyan ng unang pagpapahalaga. At isa sa mga successful sa paggawa nito ay si Mrs. Olivia Abanto, ang aking ina. May lima siyang tips para magawa mo ito.

SIKAPING IBAHAGI SA KANILA ANG SALITA NG DIYOS. Mahirap, oo, pero ito ang tanging paraan para magawa silang witnessan. Si Mrs. Abanto kahit na tinitingnan siya noon na nabaliw na noong naging Baptist siya, ay nagpatuloy pa rin siyang mag-witness sa mga ito. Huwag na huwag mong isipin na “baka wala lang mangyari” o “mauuwi lang ito sa diskusyunan.” Pinapaisip lamang sa’yo ng Diyablo na hindi mo kaya. Pero, bago ang lahat, humingi ng tulong sa Banal na Espiritu upang tulungan kang harapin ang bagay na ito.

IPAKITA ANG PAGBABAGO SA IYONG BUHAY, PANANALITA, AT PINAPAHALAGAHAN. Hindi mo sila mawi-win kung walang pagbabago sa ugali mo. Maaaring iba at maganda ang pakikitungo mo sa Church, pero sa bahay ay naiinis ka nang makita ang pagmumukha nila. Subukang kahit sinisigawan ka na o pinagsasalitaan na sumagot pa rin nang mahinahon.

IPAKITA ANG IYONG PAGMAMAHAL SA PAMAMAGITAN NG PAGTULONG. Kapag sila’y may mga problema, sikaping tumulong sa abot ng iyong makakaya. Sikaping huwag humingi ng tulong sa kanila dahil naranasan na ni Mrs. Abanto na mapagsabihan ng ganito: “Nag-Bible ka pa diyan. Sabi niyo Diyos niyo ang magbibigay ng pangangailangan niyo. Bakit ka ngayon humihingi sa akin?” Simula noon ay hindi na siya lumapit sa kanyang Tita upang humingi ng tulong. Hangga’t maaari, huwag tayong gagawa ng bagay na hahadlang para sila’y maligtas.

MAGKAROON NG SELF-SACRIFICE PARA MA-MAINTAIN ANG GOOD TESTIMONY MO KAHIT SA GITNA NG KRISIS. Self-sacrifice in the sense na, sisikapin mo pa ring kumilos at magsalita nang maayos kahit na problemado ka at vulnerable sa galit.

PATULOY NA MANALANGIN AT MAGLINGKOD KAY KRISTO. Kung nagagawa mo naman ang mga naunang apat at parang wala kang nakikitang resulta, ipagpasa-Diyos mo na lang. ipanalangin mo sila at patuloy kang maglingkod sa Panginoon. Magdala ka pa rin ng ibang kaluluwa, kumanta ka pa rin sa church, o kahit ano pang ginagawa mo para sa Kanya—at siya ang bahala sa lahat.

 

Na-win ni Mrs. Olivia Abanto ang kanyang ama, ina, at labintatlong kapatid kay Kristo, at ang iba sa kanila ay kasama pa niya sa kanyang church. Siya rin ang nagturo sa akin ng kaligtasan. Isa rin siyang magaling na tagapagturo ng mga ladies at kabataan. Siya rin ang music director ng Capitol Bible Baptist Church, ang aking home church.

The Cross-Bridge Stories: “The Greatest New Year’s Resolution”

I will change this new year.” Yester proclaimed to himself after writing a list of New Year’s resolutions. “I will now stop drinking, smoking, quarrelling with my wife, gossiping and … anything bad!” He smiled to himself, and then put the list in his private memo. After that he left his room and went into the kitchen where his wife Lorrie and kids were waiting for their Media Noche.

“What did take you so long?” his wife asked in an odd tone. “I and the kids are waiting, and it seemed you don’t care!”

She’s beginning again, he thought. “I’m sorry, Honey,” he said patiently with all his strength just to follow his resolution – ‘Don’t quarrel with my wife.’

“Don’t call me ‘Honey’!” she yelled.

He unwarily lost his patience. “OK, I’m sorry, you Monster!” he shouted then sat on the seat where his plate was.

“You are the Monster, you –“

He stood again in anger. “You what? Before you look at what I’m saying, look at your rotten words first!!!”

“Mommy, Daddy, please stop!” Mollie his daughter pleaded, caressing her crying little brother. “When will you stop yelling with each other? Until one of you dies?!” Yester, being guilty of what he’d done, left the kitchen, went to his car and drove away.

Nothing changed, he thought. And if one of my resolutions didn’t work, neither would the others.  Frustrated, he went into his office. He was a manager of a certain printing press and could there any time. He felt he needed a break.

As he got into the building, he was surprised to see one of his co-workers there, Ferdinand, typing something in the computer. “Got a problem at home, too?” he asked.

“No, all is well at home,” Ferdinand replied, smiling. “You have?”

He felt ashamed. “Yeah.”

“Let me show you something in here,” he called.

“What’s it?”

“A Bible.”

“Oh, don’t talk to me about that again,” he refused. “It can’t solve my problem.”

“The Bible alone can’t solve your problem, but God can,” he said. “You know, you can have so many New Year’s resolutions in life but without God, all those are nothing.”

“What do you mean?”

“Are you going to heaven when you die?”

“Ah … What do you mean?” he asked, confused about Ferdinand’s question. When he expected an explanation, none came. “Well, ah, I don’t know really.”

“You know Yester, Jesus died for your sins and mine, and if we accepted Him as our Lord and Savior, our life would be changed. Not that your wife would not yell at you anymore, or you would have a happy home at last, but what I’m saying is you would be changed. She may be impatient but you, you now have Jesus who will help you to be patient, loving, and understanding. And you know, this Bible knows how you could do it.

“This could be the greatest resolution you could make – be saved.”

The Cross-Bridge Stories: “Anak, Hindi Pwede!”

Masayang lumapit kay Amelita ang kanyang anak na si Melvin. Galing ito sa paglalaro sa labas. Medyo nawala nga lang ito sa kanyang paningin kanina dahil sinamahan nito ang mga kaibigan sa hindi malaman na lugar sa kanilang subdivision. Nakangiting may inabot ito sa kanyang papel. “Ano ’to, Mel?”

“Kasi po nag-Good News po kami sa bakanteng unit kasama si Teacher Jericho,” sagot nito. Nangingislap ang mga mata nito na sa tingin niya ay kasiyahan. Ngunit nagtataka pa rin siya. “Nagkaroon po kami ng activity at mataas po nakuha kong grade. Ayan oh, 97!”

Hindi niya alam kung ngingiti siya o sisimangot. Hindi pa rin kasi niya maintindihan. “Nagke-kwento po siya tungkol sa Bible at kaligtasan. Sabi po niya makasalanan daw po tayo at pupunta sa Impyerno.

“Pero dahil kay Jesus pwede po akong maligtas at dahil doon tinanggap ko Siya sa puso ko. Kaya pag namatay ako sa Langit ako pupunta. Ang saya di ba Mommy?”

“Ah …” hindi malaman ni Amelita kung ano’ng sasabihin. Malamang ay relihiyon ito ng ibang sekta, sabi ng kanyang isip.

“Mommy, iniimbitahan niya po kami sa church,” sabi ni Melvin. “Sama ako, ha?”

“Hindi, Mel, Hindi,” sagot niyang mariin sa anak. Ayaw niyang mag-iba ng relihiyon ang anak niya.

“Mommy, masaya doon at para kay Jesus naman iyon eh —”

“Hindi, Hinde,” sagot niyang tumitigas na ang tono.

“Bakit po?” naluluhang tanong ni Melvin.

“Katoliko na tayo habang buhay!” sigaw niya at umalis sa harap ng anak.

“Mommy, ligtas na po ba kayo?” mahinahong tanong ng bata na nagpatigil sa kanya. Humarap siya. Nagsalita itong muli. “Kapag namatay po ba ngayong oras na ito tiyak niyo pong sa langit kayo pupunta anumang oras?”

“Ano na naman iyang pinagsasabi mo?” tanong niyang pasigaw.

“Ngayon po bang Katoliko tayo ligtas na kayo? Sabi po kasi ni Kuya Jericho walang relihiyon ang makakapagligtas sa atin sa Impyerno. Kahit daw Saksi, Iglesiya, Dating Daan, wala—kahit nga daw relihiyon nila hindi makakapagdala sa atin sa Langit.

“Sabi po niya—may hawak po siyang Bible—binasa niya po doon—si Jesus lang ang makakapagligtas sa atin.”

“Sige, pinapayagan na kita,” sabi ni Amelita. “Pero sasamahan kita.” Nakita niya ang tuwa sa itsura nito. Kung ano man ang nakain ng batang ito, siguro dapat din niyang makain.

The Cross-Bridge Stories: Maniniwala Ka Din!

“Hoy, ikaw, lumabas ka diyan!” hamon ni Roseta sa kapitbahay na nakabangga niya kahapon. “Nasabi ka pa namang Cristiano pero ang duwag-duwag mo!”

Kahapon kasi ay nakaaway niya sa talipapa ang babae. Inaagawan daw niya ito ng bibilhin na petsay. Eh hindi naman niya kasi alam na pinili na iyon ng babae para bilhin kaya nakuha niya. Tsaka lang niya nalaman noong sigawan siya nito na mang-aagaw. Hindi naman siya makapagsalita dahil walang-tigil ito sa kakabulyaw.

“Hoy—narinig mo ba ang sinasabi ko? Lumabas k—”

“Oh, ano, mang-aagaw! Ano ang kailangan mo, petsay uli?” galit na pang-aasar ng babae. Nakipagsabunutan siya sa babae.

Naiinis siya tuwing naalala iyon. Dalawang buwan na rin ang nakakaraan. Napahiya siya. Cristiano pa naman. “Ganon pala ang kagaya nila. Simula ngayon, hindi na ako magpapasok ng mga katulad niya sa pamamahay ko.”

“Tao po! … Tao po!” narinig niyang tawag mula sa labas.

“Ano iyon —” natigilan siya nang tumambad sa harap niya ang babaeng kanina pa niya iniisip. Halatang nagulat din ang babae. Pero iba ang itsura nito kaysa dati.”

Sumagot ang kasama pa nitong babae. “Magandang umaga po. Ako po si Rose at ito naman po si Anna. Namimigay po kami ng babasahin.”

“Ayoko,” sagot niyang tahasan. “Alam mo kung bakit? Kasi iyang kasama mo bintangera? At ang kapal rin ng mukha! Nagbabahay-bahay pa! Baptist daw pero ganon!” Kitang-kita niya ang pamumula ng babaeng iyon pati na rin ng kasama nito. Aalis na dapat sila nang tumigil ang babaeng bintangera.

“Patawarin mo na ako, Roseta,” mahinahong paki-usap sa kanya ni Anna. “Oo, nagkamali ako.”

“Oo! Talagang nagkamali ka, kaya hindi na ako makikinig sa iyo!” galit niyang sabi.

“Pero noon ay isa pa akong backslider, Roseta kaya, ganon ako. Pero sana huwag mong tanggihan na kausapin ka namin. Higit itong mas may katuturan kaysa sa pinag-awayan natin. Tungkol ito sa kahihinatnan mo sa susunod na buhay.

“Eh! Hindi ako naniniwala sa iyo, at hinding-hindi ako maniniwala sa mga kagaya niyo dahil mga sinungaling kayo! Gusto niyo lang akong lumipat sa relihiyon niyo, at mag-abuloy sa pastor niyo, kaya umalis na kayo!”

Dumilim ang itsura nito, pero nanatili itong mahinahon. “Roseta, maniniwala ka rin baling araw. Maniniwala ka rin—na ikaw ay makasalanan, pupunta sa impyerno, na hindi ka maililigtas ng relihiyon mo o mga gawa mo, na tanging si Jesus ang pwedeng magligtas sa iyo, at ang dapat mong gawin ay ang tanggapin Siya bilang Tagapagligtas at Panginoon para matiyak mo ang pagpunta sa langit.

“Maniniwala ka rin na hindi dahil sa pera kaya kami nagbabahay-bahay—kundi para maligtas ka rin gaya namin.

“Maniniwala ka rin—kapag nandoon ka sa kapahamakan—kapag wala ka nang magagawa kundi umuha at magsisi dahil hindi ka naniwala habang buhay ka pa.

“Roseta, hindi ako nasa harap mo bilang kaaway mo. Kundi isang tao na nagmamalasakit sa kaluluwa mo. Pinagsisihan ko na nag-backslide pa ako. Pero sinusubukan sundin siyang muli—at itinaon Niyang magkaharap tayong muli. Sana, ngayon pa lang maniwala ka sa sinasabi ko—ng Bibliya—dahil maniniwala ka rin. Balang-araw.” Nawala na ang mga ito sa kanyang paningin.

Napaisip siya. Ibang Anna na nga ang nakita niya ngayon. At mukhang nagsasabi ito ng totoo. Maniniwala ka rin,  lalo siyang napaisip. Itutuloy

The Cross-Bridge Stories: Why Do I Live?

“No, I don’t want to hear about that this time, OK,” Yester told him. He was really irritated every time Ferdinand brought this subject up—about his destiny the next life. “Please don’t tell me about that Heaven or Hell stuff, OK? All I have to do now is fix my family problem, and nothing else.”

“But you’re focusing on less-important matters than what is really important, Yester,” he replied with the sound of sadness in his voice. “By the way, I would be going, because I have something to do with my family. Bye—ah, wait, think about this Yester. I think you really don’t know the real purpose of life.” he disappeared out of his sight.

When he got home nothing had changed. He got to the office to be alone, but that Ferdinand disturbed him. So his mind was still full of matters unsettled.

He found Cindy his wife sleeping at their room. He didn’t know what to do, if he would go inside or remain at the living room. He decided not to go. He sat back at one of the sofas. He closed his eyes. Suddenly all what that man—Ferdinand—said, which was no boggling his mind.

He then felt his daughter Mollie against his body.  She was still awake. “Daddy, sorry for talking to both of you like that. Promise I will do that again.”

“It’s my fault, darling,” Yester comforted his daughter. “I shouldn’t have yelled a your mother at first.” He hugged her tightly.

“Dad, why do you live?” she asked. Secretly, it shocked him. He was never asked things about the purpose of life before. But he answered calmly, “Of course, ah, to care for you. For Justin, and for your Mom.”

“That’s your purpose, Dad, to care for us?” she asked quizzically. “How about when you were young? When we weren’t still born, and you haven’t met Mom?”

“Ah, … to be a responsible person, Mollie,” words almost left him. In fact, if her daughter would ask more, he couldn’t answer it anymore.

“Ah…” her daughter, seemed satisfied, rested on her shoulders. To his relief, she never asked further questions. A minute later, Mollie fell asleep.

After laying her at her brother’s bed, he changed his clothes, and went for a walk at the park. It was January 1, so he had no office work. As he walked, he saw an old man walking idly. What is the purpose of this man’s life? His purposes were not applicable to this man. Even him at that situation could not say what would be his life’s purpose.

Then he saw a child. The boy was giving his goodbye to his grandparents who he and his parents were visiting probably for New Year. To study well, he thought. What after? Well, study is continuous. Be he wasn’t himself convinced.

“I think you really don’t know the real purpose of life.” “Yeah,” Yester said to himself, “and so what?!” Then he realize that it would be better for him to die if he had no purpose.

His supposed exercise this morning was cancelled. He ran back home and saw that it was six AM. He wasn’t tired and he couldn’t sleep so he went into his books and found a book of sayings. He turned into the index and looked for the topic “index.”  Then he turned to the page and saw a proverb by an atheist, Bertrand Russell. It read, “Unless you assume a God, the question of life’s purpose is meaningless.”

“A God,” he repeated.

“Are you going to Heaven when you die?” he remembered what Ferdinand said.

Am I going to heaven when I die? he questioned himself. What is my life’s purpose?

The Cross-Bridge Stories: “Mali Sila… Mali!”

Hindi mapigilan ni Marta ang sarili. “Magsilayas kayo!! Wala na kayong ginawa kundi kumatok at magbigay ng kung anu-anong walang kwentang papel sa relihiyon niyo! Para sa pera lang ang ginagawa ninyo!”
“Pero, Ale, mahalaga po ito! Wala po kaming sinasabing relihiyon, ang kaligtasan niyo lang po ang mahalaga!”
“Umalis kayo!” sabay-sara ng kanyang pinto nang malakas. “Mga _______-ina ninyo!”
Pagkalipas ng ilang sandali ay nawala na ang pagtawag ng mga taong iyon sa labas. Hay, tapos na rin… sabay naupo sa sopa. Nakapag-isip uli siya nang maayos. Nababaliw na ba sila? Ipinanganak akong ganito na ang relihiyon, dito na ako mamamatay! Matigas na sambit ng kanyang isip.
“Wala pong halaga ang relihiyon kung hindi niyo rin lang po tiyak ang inyong kaligtasan,” naalala pa niyang sabi ng lalaking pinagtabuyan niya.
Anong walang halaga? Inis-na-inis na sabi niya sa sarili. “Mali sila … mali!!!”
“Makasalanan daw ako,” naulit niya ang unang sinabi ng lalaki. “Siya, lahat daw makasalanan …”
“At dahil sa tayo ay nagkasala ay napahiwalay tayo sa Diyos,” sabi pa nito. “Parang kapag lumilindol, nagkaroon ng bangin ang tao na malayung-malayo sa Diyos…
“Walang makapagliligtas sa atin kahit paggawa natin ng mabuti, pagiging moral, at pagsali sa anumang relihiyon.” “Kahit anong relihiyon, … Meron ang relihiyon ko!”
“Tiyak niyo po ba na pupunta kayo ng langit pag namatay?” tanong niya sa lider ng kanyang simbahan.
“Ah walang nakakaalam niyan Kapatid,” sagot nito.
Bakit hindi niya alam ang pagpunta sa langit? Di ba dapat alam niya iyon? Pero itong lalaking ito, walang relihiyong kasama, matitiyak ko ang aking kaligtasan.
“Tanging si Hesus lamang ang makapagliligtas sa iyo, wala nang iba …”
Napatayo siya. Dagli-dagli siyang lumabas ng kanyang tahanan at hinabol ang dalawang lalaking iyon. Ayaw na niyang mabuhay nang walang katiyakan sa kanyang susunod na buhay.