Godly Joys

IMG_0570As a church, we are blessed. We are blessed to become a blessing to others, especially to our fellow Christians. We are blessed to be an example to others, to be able to pray for others and encourage one another to grow and reach that stage of maturity in Christ.

Seven days the Lord has given us to use every week have proved the incredible value of that blessing. These who are in Bacayan, in Babag Uno and in Maraag–three young churches–have heard us preach and teach, have heard us talk when out of the pulpit, and have seen our manner of life, and our devotion to the Lord in serving Him and worshipping Him, and our wisdom as shown in the way we handle the Scriptures. Being with these people you will hear nothing but good words, encouraging words, words of admiration for the one who brought them the gospel, for the family who made it possible for Ed Maquiling to preach to them the Word. If you would stop them in the middle of a conversation and tell them you don’t deserve any of these accolades, they would insist that those really come from the bottom of their hearts. Very simple people whose lives have not been stained by the bad examples they saw from other preachers (of the denominations).

Oh yes, they have not yet seen Christian preachers quarreling among themselves. By these I mean preachers of the Lord’s church. I hate to think about the day when they will see us preachers debating and shouting and lambasting each other. They have not seen the rest. They have only seen me. They have only seen how I treat them, as brothers and sisters whom I truly love. I will not let them see that day. That will be a day of our misfortune, the day when we will curse ourselves for not living up to the example of Jesus.

Oh, how they love each other too. No Catholic can criticize a member of the Lord’s church here, in Babag or in Maraag, without any of these Christians coming to her defense. Rodrigo Sacamay, the very first among those in Babag Uno to be baptized, told us it hurts him to hear his brothers in the flesh castigating his fellow Christian. To which all in the assembly agree. Even they themselves, members of the one body of Christ in Babag Uno, have stopped criticizing each other. They all feel that they are one body. The pains of one are the pains of all. The hurts of one is everybody’s hurts.

A question I posed to them during our Bible classes ran like this: Whom would you accept into your home: (1) A man who teaches the truth but does not live up to what he preaches? (2) A man who preaches false doctrines but lives a very exemplary life? They had no choice of either of these! Isn’t that amazing? They would rather have a man who preaches the truth and lives likewise according to the Word that he preaches.

We are here seeing young disciples having a commitment and a deeper understanding of what it takes to be a christian, a true disciple of Jesus, one who is heaven-bound. They are trying to fulfill in whatever way possible, according to the ability the Lord has supplied them, their commitment to God. They in Babag Uno told me that nothing can stop them, nothing can hinder them to fulfill that commitment to serve God and be in heaven someday.

Fulfill a commitment? These brethren do not believe that their work saves them. They know by heart what Ephesians 2:8-9 says. They trust only in Jesus’ power to save, they knew that He saved them by His blood, and they knew the blood would be powerless to make a change in their soul if they did not meet the Lord in the watery grave of baptism, and they knew that they could lose that salvation if they would not remain faithful to Him all the days of their lives. Commitment in its totality. They could not bargain for a much lesser price. It is all or none at all.

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