(photo taken by me 01/19/2014 by the house terrace)
Memory verse: Ephesians 5:1-11; 16-18
“Since you are God’s dear children, you must try to be like Him. Your life must be controlled by love, just as Christ loved us and gave His life for us as a sweet-smelling offering and sacrifice that pleases God.
Since you are God’s people, it is not right that any matters of sexual immorality or indecency or greed should ever be mentioned among you. Nor it is fitting for you to use language which is obscene, profane or vulgar. Rather you should give thanks to God. You may be sure that no one who is immoral, indecent, or greedy (for greed is a form of idolatry) will ever receive a share in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
Do not let anyone deceive you with foolish words; it is because of these very things that God’s anger will come upon those who do not obey Him. So have nothing at all to do with such people.
You yourselves used to be in the darkness, but since you have become the Lord’s people, you are in the light. So you must live like people who belong to the light, for it is the light that brings a rich harvest of every kind of goodness, righteousness and truths.
Try to learn what pleases the lord. Have nothing to do with worthless things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead bring them to the light.
Make good use of every opportunity you have, because these are the evil days. Don’t be fools then but try to find out what the Lord wants you to do.
Don’t get drunk with wine, which will only ruin you; instead be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
For the first time in four years, I decided to witness the parade on the street as one of the highlight of Cebu’s biggest religious festival Sinulog. The yearly festival highlights dancing on the street of devotees with their wooden sculptured Sto Niños in hand. In Catholicism, Sto Niño means holy child Jesus and Senior Sto Niño means the adult Jesus.
Though I can’t endure heavy crowd, I managed to add myself alongside the viewers at the street. I wanted to feel the spiritual act of devotion of those people towards Jesus though I personally dislike their diversion of faith from the spiritual being to a mere symbol, an image made of wood designed by human hands just to honor the holy child Jesus.
While observing the sacred procession, I wondered why I couldn’t hear them shouting your name Lord. Your name is Jesus! Can those sculptured image perform miracle? Is your spirit filled those wooden-sculptured Sto Niños’ I’ve seen? Why are they worshipping those images, kissing and dancing with it to show they really are devoted entities of saints? That so called wooden icon as what they call it, isn’t it likely similar to Buddha’s statue or monuments of saints being worshiped by people of other religions? Didn’t you tell us to worship you in spirit and in truth? Didn’t you tell us not to worship other gods aside from you? Didn’t you tell us not to worship or patronize saints? That you are a jealous God and that you hate idolatry? That worshiping images is a form of idolatry? That our body is your temple?
Last night after work, I cried out to God. I asked why those people (my own people) were celebrating their so called religious festival that way. It’s all bunch of worldly activities! Concerts, dirty dances, party in night clubs/pubs, drinking alcohol, playing card games, body painting (henna tattoo), all sorts, you name it! A neighbor even persuaded me to join them drinking and merry-making at the street corner.
Hence, not so long after I slept, I woke up from a dream. In my dream, I can see a very calm see but suddenly big waves were enormously growing. My cousin and I were talking outside her house (her house is facing the sea). When we’re walking along the shore by the seawall, we noticed that the waves are rising showing a long gap between the crest and the trough. The waves were in rage. My cousin then shared occasionally that she’s hit by waves from her window. “Waves these days are growing bigger and bigger and are getting tougher and tougher. They can’t even be angrier.” Before she could finish talking, the current of water were increasing suddenly from low to high tide. The wind was blowing so fiercely. I can even see a leopard coming forth from the sea and some birds flying for refuge. They were panicking as if danger is coming. I wondered where that leopard came. It suddenly appeared from nowhere. The huge body of water was approaching us so we managed to run. “This is no joke,” I told myself while big waves were increasing its wavelengths as if ready to swallow us up by its strength. We knew that we were witnessing a storm surge in front of us. That storm surge could wash out villages along and near the shore and could extend further more.
<Next scene > There was a scarcity of food.
<Another scene> Due to some daily tasks, I forgot my breakfast. When I arrived home, they reminded me to have brunch instead. I’m getting hungry and I can see plenty of food on the table but I had the urge to wait for my mom so we can eat together. I needed her presence. She’s been out for a long time since day break and I wondered what took her so long. My cousins arrived and chatted with me. I was so hungry and was about to cry. “Where’s my mom?” I protested silently. One of my cousins was trying to comfort me when her girlfriend arrived naked. I was shocked when they kissed each other in front of us unmindful of some minors present at that scene. They were about to have sex when I was blown by my temper and threw them out from the house.
Finally, my mom arrived. She’s so busy. She even forgot to take care of us; she’s prioritising other people than our welfare. That dream made me so sad.
Thoughts to ponder
On that same day, breaking news of typhoon that causes heavy flood and physical destruction to some cities and provinces in Mindanao, cancellation of classes and flights alarmed me. I thought of my dream about the water in rage.
God was angry with premarital sex and He is showing how young people were acting these days out of control. He is not happy with it. He’s condemning the action.
He also shows me that I don’t have to be totally dependent to my biological/earthly parents. That scene in my dream when I almost cried out of frustration to see my mom because I needed parental love reminded me of my supposed first love—God. When I wasn’t yet born-again in the spirit, I used to consider my parents number one in my heart like they are my life, I can’t live without them, it would be useless and miserable if I’ll lose them. Moreover, though my mouth agreed to my Sunday school teacher whenever she mentioned about the 10 commandments that you must love God above all things, those were actually an act of lip service; not genuine. Yes, I regularly went to church at those times but I also participated in worldly affairs. I had a form of idolatry inside me like self- gratification, fondness of material things, self, self, and self…and it takes a lifetime to fight with oneself, I tell you.
Our greatest enemy is ourselves because when we are weighing which is right or wrong, we’re actually battling with ourselves. Originally, before our lord and saviour Jesus Christ came, we are sinners. That sin is growing every day, multiplying it. Now the work of the enemy, the serpent is to deceive us, making sure that we would believe that our human nature (a sinner) is an excuse to do sinful acts, making us believe that it’s okay to sin over and over again since we could just asked God to forgive us.
But Jesus tells us that when we are born again, old things will pass away…
1 Corinthians 13:11 says: “When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child…
2 Corinthians 5:17 says: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old has gone, the new is here!” This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life has gone; a new life has begun!
Ezekiel 36:26 says: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
Isaiah 43: 18 says: “Forget the former things; do not dwell in the past.”
John 3:3 Jesus replied,” Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”
Romans 6:4 says: “We therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
John 14:20 says: “At that day you shall not know that I am in my Father and you in me, and I in you.”
Matthew 9:16-17 says: “No one patches up an old coat with a piece of new cloth, for the new patch will shrink and make an even bigger hole in the coat. Nor does anyone pour new wine into used wineskins, for the skins will burst, the wine will pour out, and the skins will be ruined. Instead new wine is poured into fresh wineskins, and both will keep in good condition.”
Romans 8:9;10 says: “But you do not live as their human nature tells you to—if in fact, God’s spirit lives in you. Whoever does not have the spirit of Christ does not belong to Him. But if Christ lives in you, the spirit is life for you because you have been put right with God, even though your bodies are going to die because of sin.”
Ephesians 4: 22-24 says: “So get rid of your old self which made you live as you used to—the old self that was being destroyed by its deceitful desires. Your hearts and minds must be made completely new, and you must put on the new self who is created in God’s likeness and reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy.”
Colossians 3:1-3 says: “You have been raised to life with Christ so set your hearts on the things that are in heaven, where Christ sits in His throne at the right side of God. Keep your minds fixed on things there, not on things here on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. Your real life is Christ and when He appears, then you too will appear with Him and share His glory.”
Colossians 3:5-10 says: “You must put to death the earthly desires at work in you such as sexual immorality, indecency, lust, evil passions, and greed (for greed is a form of idolatry). But now you must get rid of all those things: anger, passion and hateful feelings. No insults or obscene talk must ever come from your lips. Do not lie to one another, for you have put off the old self with its habits and have put on the new self. This is the new being which God, its creator, is constantly renewing in His own image in order to bring you to a full knowledge of himself.”
And when we pray, we must directly pray to Jesus raising our head up on heaven since He is in heaven or holding our chest while feeling our heartbeat since His spirit dwells in us, in our heart. Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. We don’t need to use mediums like saints, statues or any graven images; not even Mary (Jesus Christ earthly mother) to be heard by God!
For those who pray “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of you womb Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and on the hour of our death, amen.” to tell you, Jesus is not pleased with you at all. Jesus wants you to stop praying to Mary. She can’t have the power to save us; only Jesus can save us! If you pray, you must pray to Him and Him alone. Don’t pray to saints. Don’t pray to stones or rocks.
To God be all the glory, honour, praise and adoration!