Thursday, August 03, 2006

the great blondin

last night i attended a wake for my friend sherwin's grandfather, victorino pajarillo. as i listened to friends and family talk about this great man that they were blessed to have in their lives, i kept remembering how, years ago, i attended my own brother's wake. butch passed away when we were kids, and although he did not have a full life like sherwin's granddad, we celebrated his life in the same way, how he was a great blessing to us even though he came just for a short while.

pastor pao gave a sermon last night... it was such an amazing and powerful message, and i couldn't stop my tears from falling as i listened to his words...

Life is SHORT... whether we live to 3 or 89 years, it will always seem too short. how time flies when we're caught up in matters of "importance". i guess every birthday, every Christmas...or even every time someone dies we wonder, where did time go? and even though there will also be days that seem to last forever, life is barely a blink compared to eternity...(Hebrews 13:14) DEATH is sure... death is an appointment we all one escapes death. but we must remember that even though life is short, and death is sure... God is GOOD.

4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Psalm 23:4-6

as pastor paolo closed his sermon, he told us the story of the amazing Charles Blondin. Blondin, born Jean Francois Gravelet, was a french tight-rope walker and an acrobat who lived in the late 19th century. he was famous for his feats of walking across the niagara falls on a tight-rope. each time he crossed, a distance of over 1100 feet long above the falls, he would ask the audience if they believed he could do it...and they would always reply with an enthusiastic "Yes!" "We believe in you!" "You're the Great Blondin!". and he would cross with ease, and even back again. when he asked if they believed he could cross the falls with a man on his back, they replied the same way. BUT when he asked who would volunteer to be that person on his back... do you think they replied as enthusiastically? they were silent, or probably tried to volunteer each other. they were hesitant.

we are just like those people. we pray to God fervently asking him for miracles, we are passionate and wholehearted when we sing praises and when we worship Him... "Yes! You are good!" "You are the great Father" "Amazing God! You can do anything!". but when we are put on the spot to give up everything to Him... to put our trust in Him and to lay our lives before Him just as a person would ride on Blondin's back across the Niagara...we are hesitant. we are scared.

if we believe in God who is great and can do amazing things with our lives, then we should wholeheartedly give that to Him. how much easier life would be if we let Him carry us across...!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

an email i got at work today :) took the liberty of adding the passages (from NIV)

Five Reasons Why God Uses Problems

The problems you face will either defeat you or develop you - depending on how you respond to them. Unfortunately, most people fail to see how God wants to use problems for good in their lives. They react foolishly and resent their problems rather than pausing to consider what benefit they might bring.

Here are five ways God wants to use the problems in your life:

1. God uses problems to DIRECT you.
Sometimes God must light a fire under you to get you moving. Problems often point us in a new direction and motivate us to change. Is God trying to get your attention? "Sometimes it takes a painful situation to make us change our ways."
Proverbs 20:30
30 Blows and wounds cleanse away evil, and beatings purge the inmost being.

2. God uses problems to INSPECT you.
People are like tea bags...if you want to know what's inside them, just drop them into hot water! Has God tested your faith with a problem? What do problems reveal about you? "When you have many kinds of troubles, you should be full of joy, because you know that these troubles test your faith, and this will give you patience."
James 1:2-3
2Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.

3. God uses problems to CORRECT you.
Some lessons we learn only through pain and failure. It's likely that as a child your parents told you not to touch a hot stove. But you probably learned by being burned.
Sometimes we only learn the value of, money, a relationship... by losing it. "It was the best thing that could have happened to me, for it taught me to pay attention to your laws."
Psalm 119:71-72
71 It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees.

72 The law from your mouth is more precious to me
than thousands of pieces of silver and gold.

4. God uses problems to PROTECT you.
A problem can be a blessing in disguise if it prevents you from being harmed by something more serious. Last year a friend was fired for refusing to do something unethical that his boss had asked him to do. His unemployment was a problem - but it saved him from being convicted and sent to prison a year later when management's actions were eventually discovered. "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good..."
Genesis 50:20
20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

5. God uses problems to PERFECT you.
Problems, when responded to correctly, are character builders. God is far more interested in your character than your comfort. Your relationship to God and your character are the only two things you're going to take with you into eternity. "We can rejoice when we run into problems... they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady."
Romans 5:3-4
3Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4perseverance, character; and character, hope.

Here's the point:
God is at work in your life - even when you do not recognize it or understand it.
But it's much easier and profitable when you cooperate with Him.

"Success can be measured not only in achievements, but in lessons learned, lives touched and moments shared along the way"

LIFE IS AN ECHO. What you send out, you get back. What you give, you receive.