The Lord is Speaking, Are You Listening?

Amos has heard of the Word of the Lord and he took it seriously. How serious are you with the Lord?

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We all have different calling in life. Some are called to serve as public servants, others as entrepreneurs. Others still, choose to devote themselves to ministry and making a difference in the lives of others. Iba iba man ang ating pinagkakaabalahan, dumadating tayo sa punto na kuntento na tayo, kahit pa routine na lang ang lahat. Ok na, we can go along. When we get exposed to something at nakasanayan na natin masyado, it eventually becomes our comfort zone. Ayaw na nating umalis, kuntento na.

Not so with Amos. He is a farmer, specifically a dresser of sycamore trees, and a shepherd. All his life he is devoted to tend the animals and the sycamore trees under his care. Probably he is content with his lot. But when he heard God calling Him to be a messenger to the Israel, he willingly obliged.

Upon hearing the Word of the Lord, we are always left with two options: either to take the Word seriously and obey, or to ignore the Word and delay. In the case of Amos, he chose to obey.

Having heard from the Lord made Amos obey without any compromise because he is convinced and he trusts the One who is calling him for a career move. Take note that he is no professional prophet, but he took the challenge seriously because he who called him needs to be taken seriously. Upon hearing the Word of the Lord, we are always left with two options: either to take the Word seriously and obey, or to ignore the Word and delay. In the case of Amos, he chose to obey.

What he did is no simple task. Hindi kagaya ng pagpapalit lang ng company o ng lugar na titirhan. Originally from the land of Judah, he was tasked to preach in the land of Israel, a land enjoying a time of prosperity yet the people engaged in corruption and moral degradation. In fact the time he set foot on Israel, he was confronted by a priest named Amazaiah and told him to just go back to the sheep and the sycamore trees. “Di ka rito nababagay. Di ka naming kailangan. Bumalik ka na lang sa inyo. If you want to preach, preach there. Don’t earn your living here.” Napagbintangan pang pinagkakaperahan ang ministry! Good thing, Amos didn’t back off.

Their outward religious rites don’t necessarily reveal what’s going on in the inside. And to make things worse, they are so impressed with themselves and their religion, looking forward for God’s blessing to shower upon them as if they have done nothing wrong.

He has a message of warning to the people of Israel – na sa kanilang karangyaan, sa kabila ng katiwasayan ng kanilang buhay, nakakalimutan na nilang makinig sa Diyos. The Israelites has been living a life of compromise and hypocrisy. They have forgotten the fact that they are a people of God and that they should be a living testimony to their neighbors of God’s faithfulness. They have been living a prosperous life, full of magnificence, but their hearts are far from the Lord. Their outward religious rites don’t necessarily reveal what’s going on in the inside. And to make things worse, they are so impressed with themselves and their religion, looking forward for God’s blessing to shower upon them as if they have done nothing wrong. And God wants to rebuke them through Amos.

Amos has heard of the Word of the Lord and he took it seriously. So serious that he went the distance and faced persecution because he knows how serious the Lord is as well. He was able to stand for what is right and resist going through the motions. It became possible because he heard the Word of the Lord, and he took it seriously.

The Lord is speaking, are you listening? Will you take Him seriously?

Conversation with God

Unless you are willing to give up whatever I ask of you, the perfect time will not arrive soon for you.

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God: Why are you crying?

Boy: I’m crying because of her.

God: That one? What about her?

Boy: I invested a lot of feelings on her but to no avail.

God: Is that so?

Boy: Yes. I even pushed myself to the limits. I skipped meals just to save money so I can buy her gifts. I am actually trying my best in everything for her to notice me.

God: Wow! That’s good. You are indeed highly motivated.

Boy: I badly want her to notice me. Have you seen my efforts, God?

God: Yes, and I can say you are an impressive guy.

Boy: But God, she isn’t impressed. What’s the matter with her?

God: …

Boy: Oh! I remember. She’s been in my prayers this past few weeks. You see, I shed tears for her. I like her so much, God. Haven’t You heard my prayers?

God: Of course, I do! I know all about your prayers.

Boy; Then why she isn’t into me yet?

God: Because son, I want you to be happy.

Boy: She makes me happy, God!

God: I know. I know how much you giggle every time you see her. I know how inspired you are whenever you think about her. I know all about that.

Boy: See! But why aren’t You making any actions on it? Do you love me, God? I mean, for real?

God: Of course son! I even died for you remember?

Boy: Yeah, yeah. I have heard that story countless time. But that is not the kind of love I am seeking. I like her, I mean, I love her. Will You give her to me?

God: Let me think about it. But first, I have to tell you some important things.

Boy: Shoot! What about, God? Anything goes.

God: Listen to me carefully. Do you know what love means?

Boy: Hmmm, yes. Liking someone, wanting her near, being sweet to her, You know – flowers, chocolates, gifts. Making her happy!

God: Ok, I get your point. But you’re just scratching the surface.

Boy: What do You mean?

God: What are you willing to give up for her? You know, love is sacrifice, just like what I did on the cross. When you say you love a person, you are saying that you are willing to give up everything for that person, even your life.

Boy: Isn’t that too much, God? Intense!

God: I think so, son. But let me continue. Are you willing to give up your precious ‘me’ time to meet her demands? Are you willing to adjust to her personality? Are you willing to share your resources to her? Are you willing to meet her parent’s expectations? As far as I can see, you cannot even obey your parents without whining or complain.

Boy: …

God: How about your privacy? Are you willing to give up your privacy and share it with her? Are you ready to let go of your pride and allow her to influence your every decision? And son, I am telling you, love is making a commitment. A commitment is not just a promise that is easily forgotten. A commitment has to shape your life. When you commit to someone, it means you are willing to take the risks and losses just to keep your commitment.

Boy: Commitment seems to be a serious thing.

God: Sure it is! So are you even serious about what you are asking me?

Boy: I think so, God.

God: Ok. So let’s start with the simplest sacrifice – your game console. Are you willing to give it up?

Boy: Umm… this one, God? Are You even serious? If there’s one thing that takes the most out of my time, this could be it. I value my games too much, as much as I value my gadgets. This is what makes me the most popular kid! How will she able to notice me if I am not popular anymore?

God: Love, my son, is a sacrifice. And unless you are willing to give up whatever I ask of you, the perfect time will not arrive soon for you. For now, son, finish your studies first. I’ll consider your request once you are man enough and sincerely willing to sacrifice.

Zip your Mouth

The Lord will fight for you while you keep silent.

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The Israelites were gripped with fear because the Egyptians are coming after them!

“Is it because there were no more graves in Egypt that’s why you brought us here in the wilderness to die, huh Moses? Nang-aano ka e ha?! Sumosobra ka na e ha?!”

We cannot blame them. Takot sila. Minsan, kahit tayo ay nakakaramdam din ng takot. Bills kept coming, andyan na rin ang mga deadlines, mababang grades sa class card, and a lot of many other problems pressing us. Sobrang nakakabahala.

And because of our fear our mouth speaks of, instead of prayer and praise, worries and doubt. Madami tayong nasasabi. Madami tayong naiisip. Nababahala tayo at di mapakali, pati ang bibig ay di na natitigil.

Yet Moses comforted the Israelites with this: the Lord will fight for you while you keep silent. Manahimik. Wag mag-alala. Si Lord na ang bahala. Kikilos pa rin si Lord kahit wala tayong ‘dada’.

Aha! Moment: Zip your mouth.

Disappointments

Relationship more than obligation.
Fellowship more than affiliation.

May mga bagay sa buhay na lubhang nakakadisappoint:

1. Escalator na hindi gumagana.
2. Umatake ka sa clan war with 99% pero 1 star.
3. Magreply ka ng magreply sa katext mo only to find out di ka na pala unli.
4. Ma-late ng a minute or two pagkatapos humangos papunta sa office.
5. Magbihis at mag-ayos ng bongga pero di ka naman pala kasama sa lakad.

It’s hard to accept frustrations. Lalo na kapag sobra kang umasa. Umasa ka na titigil na sa bisyo ang asawa mo, umasa ka na mababayaran ka na ng may utang sayo, umasa ka na papansinin ka ng crush mo.

There was an occasion na nadisappoint ako sa isang tao na sobrang tinitingala ko. Ganun pala yung feeling, pakiramdam mo nabasted ka or something. Pero I was consoled and reminded by my pastor that disappointments in ministry, and life in general, are inevitable – and always expect that there will be a lot to come!

Have you ever been disappointed? Wala naman sigurong hindi. Noong bata tayo pinangakuan tayo ng pasalubong na donuts pero ang inuwi sa atin nilupak. Pinangakuan tayo na pupunta sa Jollibee pero dinala tayo sa palengke. Ang masaklap nang minsan kang mainlove pinangakuan ka ng forever, pero valid lang pala from July to December.

Masakit ang umasa at mabigo. Pero sa lahat ng kabiguan, wala na yatang mas sasakit pa dito:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.  Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me , you who practice lawlessness.'” – Matthew 7:21-23

Higit na masakit ito kaysa mabasted ng tatlong beses isang linggo. Mas matindi pa ito sa pusong sinugatan at pinatakan ng kalamansi. Mas grabe sa pusong tinadtad na parang sisig. All along you are convinced that you are on your way to heaven only to be rejected and denied by the Lord himself on that most important day.

Salvation is free and for everybody. You do not have to be popular, rich, intelligent or influential to be entitled a free pass to heaven. But while salvation is free, it is not cheap. No, you cannot earn eternal life through good works – it is only by faith in Jesus and on what He’s done on the cross that you become part of God’s family.

Sabi ni Jesus, “Not everyone who says to me Lord! Lord! will enter the kingdom of heaven” Hindi lahat ng nagsasabi na kilala niya ang Panginoon, na may relationship na sa Diyos ay tunay na makakarating sa langit, “but only those who does the will of my Father in heaven”. And what is the will of the Father?

The lordship of Jesus is more than just doing good works for Him, especially when it’s convenient, but consistently be in obedience to Him even when things get rough.

Mahal mo ba ang kapitbahay mo kahit palagi silang may handaan, nagvi-videoke sa gabi at di man lang nagdadala ng pansit at lumpiang shanghai sa bahay niyo? Mahal mo ba ang mga officemates mo kahit na ang pangkumpleto nila sa araw nila ay irapan ka hanggang sa unti-unti nang humihiwalay ang kilay nila sa mukha? Mahal mo pa rin ba si Lord kahit parang ibinigay na ng mundo lahat ng stress sa balikat mo? Yet the will of the Father is that you obey Him no matter what it takes.

The lordship of Jesus is more than just doing good works for Him, especially when it’s convenient, but consistently be in obedience to Him even when things get rough.

Mahirap maging consistent but it is worth the try and effort. After all, walang sinuman sa atin ang may gusto na maiwan sa byahe.

Relationship more than obligation.
Fellowship more than affiliation.