For those who were asking for the video podcast for the message last Sunday, here it is.
What do you do when storms hit?
I’m not just talking about the storms we experience in Manila around July, August and September.
People react in many different ways.
Some try their best to stop the storm from happening.
Some just go through life as if nothing happened.
Others wade through life in their own coffin hoping to skirt death.
A few just hit the panic button and whatever response they get, they live with.
There are those who just jump it and make the most of the situation.
While others are caught stuck, problematic and unprepared as the flood waters arise.
I’ve realized that a lot of life is responding not just reacting.
It’s not what happens to you that’s important; but how you respond to what happens to you.
It is inevitable that things will go wrong – some inadvertent, others self-inflicted.
Jesus even said that “In this world, you WILL have trouble.” (John 16:33)
But pain is inevitable while misery is optional.
Mark 4:25-31 tells us a story when Jesus and the disciples when through a storm. On their way to the other side of Lake Galilee, they encountered a squall.
Here are lessons we can gather from their experience.
1. STORMS WILL COME.
Though the disciples were experienced fishermen, this squall got them terrified.
Expect it. Know that it will come eventually.
Some come as a test.
Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart… (Deut. 8:2)
Others come as a refiner.
These (trials) have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:7)
But as Peter said, ultimately it is for the praise, glory and honor of God.
2. STORMS EXPOSE WHAT WE ARE REALLY HOLDING ON TO.
Jesus said, “Let us go over to the other side.” (Mark 4:35)
He said “Let us” not only Peter and John. He said, “Let us” and not only I will get through.
The other thing is that He said, we will “go over to the other side” not “go under”. I know it’s simple semantics but listening to the statement and directives of Christ can mean life and death.
When the storm hits, remember the last thing He told you… AND HOLD ON TO IT!
He later asks where is your faith? Our faith can begin to get anchored on many other foundations – career, friendships, family, ministry, bank account, portfolio, business… you name it.
All other foundations are faulty. Jesus is the only SURE FOUNDATION.
And remember, as we go through life, Jesus didn’t promise us a STORM FREE LIFE but a STORM PROOF LIFE.
3. STORMS ARE ACTUALLY OPPORTUNITIES.
It is an opportunity to see God move!
I remember Joseph Bonifacio tell me the story of his dad. He was still in elementary when he was watching his dad having a conversation over the phone.
After his dad put the phone dad, he was shouting at the top of his voice saying, “Yeah! C’mon God!”
He asks his dad, “What’s up dad? Do you have an answer to your prayer?”
His dad then replies, “No. The business is actually millions of pesos in debt… BUT I AM SO EXCITED TO SEE HOW GOD WILL MOVE AND GET ME OUT OF THIS SITUATION! Whoa!!!! C’mon God!”
Joseph thought his dad lost it. He wondered what he’s been smoking at that time. Haha. But it displayed faith in a God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly more than we can ask or imagine.
You and I serve a supernatural God. If He wants to still the storm, in a snap of His fingers, He actually can. But for some reason, He has allowed you to go through it. He’s trying to accomplish something in your life.
It takes faith to believe God to take us out of the storm. It does take faith as well to go through the storm and trust He is in charge.
My prayer is that we will see God in the middle of the storm.
Remember, it is so natural for Jesus to move in the supernatural.
What do you do when you are on your way towards a successful career, living out your childhood dream when suddenly life throws you a curve ball?
You no longer have what you used to have.
You seemingly have lost the dream you’ve pursued ever since.
You are left with a dilibitating situation with everything now out of your hands.
Listen to what Eugene Tejada went through and how God, coupled with spiritual family, helped him cope with his situation.
To listen to the whole message, click this link.
Then click on the video tab and watch the message entitled “Encourage One Another.”
Playing with our 2 year old Joaquin is a lot of fun. Last night, I taught him how to punch like Manny Pacquiao. After he did it to me, I responded by acting like I was a punching bag. He laughed so hard he wanted to do it again. So he did. And I reacted the same way. He said, “Again, Daddy, again.” So he punched, and I acted. ”Again!” So he punched again and I acted. This happened a few times.
Stuff like these are fun. But at some point, it gets old.
I remembered what G.K. Chesterton said about God not getting tired. Tyler Kenny calls it the “Childlikeness of God.”
A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony.
But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.
The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical ENCORE.
Please take the time to read. This story is so powerful, it gave me so much hope for families that have been marred by selfishness and broken by sin.
Here it is…
Hi pastor pao! I saw your tweet about any recent testimony and I wanna share something to you and to the rest of the congregation 🙂
I’m the only believer in my family and the past 6mos has been one of the major storm that hit my family. My dad accused my mom for having an affair with his friend, but in fact it was him who has been cheating on my mom since my brother and I were kids. It has been a mess. A lot of people had been involved, so many hearts have been broken into pieces. It came to a point where my dad was physically and emotionally abusing my mom. He was threatening his friend and his family and cops has been involved too. They were in the process of divorced. I hated my dad and I’ve been praying that God will just take him away from my family and disappear forever.
But God had a different plan, instead of changing our situation, He started changing our hearts.
He blessed me with peace and assurance that He is in control and that I just have to trust Him. My mom started reading my Bible, my dad asked me about God and my relationship with Him … I’ve been praying for my parents’ salvation since I got saved in 2006, I had some moments when I was upset with God on why He is not saving my parents and bro, but every sunday I see some people who are getting saved, my patience was really running out, but God knocked in my heart again and told me to wait and just trust Him.
And now, God restored my family. My mom and dad are not pushing through with their divorce, my dad finally apologized and admitted everything that he have done in the past. They’ve been going to church every Sunday and I see them reading the Bible together.
God has been really faithful and whenever I think about it, I can’t stop crying on how God works. He works in a beautiful way. my God is an awesome God. He truly is! 🙂
Hi Pastor Paolo. I will attempt to write to you in length what happened to her. My daughter is now 9 years old and if you see her you wouldn’t find any trace that one time she had congenital heart disease.
She was born on January 30 of 2001 in Angeles University Foundation Hospital in Pampanga. My wife had a normal pregnancy and a normal delivery. Our daughter looked healthy upon delivery. One thing that we noticed though was that she was having difficulty in feeding. She couldn’t take milk in normal amounts. It’s as if she’s drowning when she was being fed. After 5 days my wife noticed that she looked deathly pale. She keeps on yawning and gasping for air. I was in Manila at that time. I received a call from my wife. She was crying over the phone. She told me that Guia was in the emergency room of Makabali Hospital in San Fernando, Pampanga. I decided to drive back home to be with them. While I was driving I started to contact several of my friends who are doctors. I was a Medical Representative at the time. The doctor who responded to my call was Dr. Jimenez. I told him the situation. He immediately attended my daughter. After a few minutes I received a call from this doctor. He told me that they need to bring Guia to a hospital and she needed to be intubated either in UST or at Fe Del Mundo Hospital. She ended up going to Fe Del Mundo Hospital. I immediately proceeded there and waited for the ambulance that was carrying my daughter. When they arrived the hospital staff immediately brought my daughter to the NICU. They found out that she had bilateral pneumonia (both of her lungs were infected) and her heart was enlarged. After several tests they concluded that she had Atrial Septal Defect (ASD) and Patent Ductus Arteriousus (PDA). Their main concern though was treating her lung infection. Two doctors handled her case, a neonatologist and a pediatric cardiologist. Their advice was to treat the infection first then do an open heart surgery once she recovered from the infection. The church started praying for us and our daughter. We stayed in the hospital for more than a month. Her condition was good one day and worse the next. One of the babies lying next to her in the NICU who had a similar case, who even looked healthier, didn’t make it. But our daughter survived.
This wasn’t the end of the fight though. The infection may have gone but the holes were still there. We were discharged from the hospital but we have been instructed to come back to Manila for a follow up check up. After one month we went to her cardiologist. She said that the heart murmurs are still there but she will give her a few more months to see if the condition improves. We were now advised to come back after 3 months. When the time came we went to her doctor again. But before seeing her we were told to have our daughter undergo 2D Echocardiogram at the Heart Center. My wife assisted my daughter during this exam. What she told me later made the hairs of my body raised. She told me that when our daughter was undergoing 2D Echo the staff first saw the holes. After awhile they couldn’t find them anymore. So they called a higher up to do the examination. Finally the results came. Zero defects! We immediately brought the result of the exam to her cardiologist. She said, “You’re daughter is healed. She’s fine now.” Before we left the clinic the doctor’s secretary raised her voice and asked the doctor, “Doktora kailan po sila babalik?” The doctor replied, “Di na sila babalik.” I will never forget that moment.
My daughter got healed because God answered our prayers and the prayers of the church. We serve an awesome God!
Coming back to the office, I thought about how people try to ‘crop God’. Cropping God?
People try to reduce God into ‘managable sizes’ so they can pull Him out of their pockets whenever they need Him.
But He is above and beyond that. In fact, we wouldn’t want a God we can manage. When circumstances overtake us, we want Someone who is much bigger than our situation.
Remember, our God is ALL-MIGHTY…
Question: How big is your God?
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the LORD. Isaiah 55:8
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9