When Silence is Gold

When Silence is Gold…

What do you say when people wrongly accuse you? How do you respond? How do you feel? I want to defend myself: let them know I they are wrong. I am not. I feel hurt. I want justice. I have to say something. Yet many times, I know God is teaching me to be like Jesus. How did Jesus respond when he was wrongly accused at the trial that sentenced him to crucifixion?

Mark 14:55-65
The high priest asked Jesus 2 questions. (v.60)
Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?
How come Jesus did not answer these two questions.

Because Jesus didn’t answer, the high priest asked a 3rd question. Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed one? (v.62)

Jesus answered “Yes.” To which he added, you will see me sitting at the right hand of the mighty one and coming on the clouds of heaven.

Jesus did not answer the first two questions because there was no need to give answers. Why? He knew they misunderstood what he said about destroying the temple and building it up again in 3 days. He knew their testimonies were in disagreement with each other. He knew they were wrong and he was right where he was supposed to be. Silence is as good an answer.

Jesus answered the 3rd question that He is the Messiah because He is. He is the Son of the Blessed one. He knows He is the Son of God. A simple ‘I am’ to a simple truth – truth so profound that it was deemed a blasphemy by the high priest.

So each time I feel like speaking out to defend myself, I learn discernment to be silent like Jesus. God in his own time vindicates me. This is a difficult lesson to learn – yet God is patient. The sooner I learn the lesson, the sooner I have peace within me and peace with the person I want to defend myself to.

Jesus stood his ground. He was silent in the face of wrong accusations because he knew where he was supposed to be. He knew who He is. There is no need to defend himself.

To Fear or Not to Fear

To fear or not to fear… What are you afraid of? What makes your knee weak with fear? What shakes your composure and keeps you awake at night? Is it fear of sickness? fear of loneliness? fear of loss? fear of death? fear of rejection? fear of financial insecurities? fear of the unknown?

Psalm 112 tells the secret to a life of no fear. Fear the Lord and have no fear. The Christian life is not a pure smooth path of roses. It is not all sunshine. There will be darkness v.4 but even in darkness, light dawns for the upright -for the gracious, compassionate and righteous – these are the characteristics of those who fear the Lord. v. 6 tells us the righteous will never be shaken – they will stood firm and have no fear of BAD NEWS because their hearts are steadfast, trusting the Lord. v.7 This implies that there is bad news BUT we will have no fear even when things are bad.

Sometimes we are tossed and turned by waves of fears. It is so difficult to be steadfast – to be steady, to be secure and to ‘not be shaken’ and have no fear of the darkness, the bad news of life. What to fear? or rather Who to fear? Fear the Lord – not the kind of being afraid – but the kind of obedience – finding great delight in his commands! Turn your fear of the dark into steadfast unshakeable security by fearing the Lord of light. Even in darkness, light dawns. Even with bad news, there is no fear!

Psalm 112
1 Praise the Lord.
Blessed are those who fear the Lord,
who find great delight in his commands.
2 Their children will be mighty in the land;
the generation of the upright will be blessed.
3 Wealth and riches are in their houses,
and their righteousness endures forever.
4 Even in darkness light dawns for the upright,
for those who are gracious and compassionate and righteous.
5 Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely,
who conduct their affairs with justice.
6 Surely the righteous will never be shaken;
they will be remembered forever.
7 They will have no fear of bad news;
their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
8 Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear;
in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.
9 They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor,
their righteousness endures forever;
their horn will be lifted high in honor.
10 The wicked will see and be vexed,
they will gnash their teeth and waste away;
the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.

#fearless #FearOfTheLord #wisdom #readthebible

Danny’s Flashlight

Light of the world, a lamp in the dark, a city set on a hill.. These words remind me of my friend, Danny. When? When he was fighting and dying of cancer… How? Let me share an excerpt of the eulogy I wrote for him some 10 months ago.

On 4/9, Danny said: I’m stable but in pain. feels like a dog w/ sharp teeth biting my right chest n wont let go. I’m surviving thru much prayers esp at night I cant lie down. God is good. He makes me sleep when I’m exhausted. I’m truly thankful for that.

From 5/25-27: Scan results out, no good. He said: God knows what’s next. Don’t worry. I’m totally at peace. Pray for less pain. I don’t want my family to be affected when I whine or cry in pain. Thanks. I cannot explain the peace that I feel now.
“it’s not as bad as it sounds. God is good no matter how this progresses. I’m totally at peace. No worries. Thank you for prayers.”
“Let’s hope the med works. God is good. I’m not a bit worried.”

8/25, “I’m not afraid to go. I just ask God for another chance to share w others how good He’s been to me.”

Danny’s words testified that in all things (good n bad) God is good. He loved God and was devoted to Him amidst hardship. He loved people. He was dying and still thinking of God and neighbor. He wanted to donate whatever useful organs he’s got left. He asked for more time even in great pain to tell his stories.

Danny taught me lessons on dying bravely and living brightly even in the deep dark pit of pain. God enabled him to be a light shining in the valley of the shadow of death.

God took him first even though he was the youngest in our barkada. He was strongest when he was weakest because God’s grace was sufficient. Danny shone brightest when it was darkest because God was his light. Today, his voice resonates loudly because God’s Word was the only voice he heard and held on to. His life mirrored his Savior and Lord Jesus.

Today, Danny still speaks to me. Yesterday, his wife told me Danny gave me permission to share his stories whenever possible so people will know his God of grace. I miss Danny often especially when I have questions about the Bible, about things to write, ideas to share. He was a deep thinker, great teacher and fine writer. He’s witty, funny, silly, naughty and many more. Most of all, he’s my friend who loved me and whom I loved dearly. Tears falling as I write these words.

Around 1am today, I woke and could not get back to sleep. I watched some video clips on FB and chanced upon the Red Table Talk of Jada Pinkett Smith with the parents of Ms. USA who committed suicide earlier this year. Near the end of the talk, Jada shared her grief story about losing a dear friend. My takeaway from her lesson: Memories of our loved ones who passed on may fade. One sure thing remains: love.

How true the words from the Bible:
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13

Choosing Joy

“Happiness isn’t something that depends on our surroundings. It’s something we make inside ourselves.” -Corrie ten Boom

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” 
-Proverbs 4:23

· So true… A thankful heart makes a happy heart. Today I am thankful for my oncologists. I am happy that EVEN THOUGH I have to take cancer maintenance med, I had a kind oncologist who looked after me for the past 5 years. I am sad that she’s not in the best of health. It is not by chance that God provided me a new oncologist who was referred by our doctor friend. To have a caring doctor (we’re ‘hiyang’ to each other) is a blessing. I learned so many things from my oncologist this morning. I am grateful that EVEN THOUGH my meds have side effects, there are remedies to make up for them. I am glad that EVEN THOUGH I have osteopenia, it is not that serious. It encourages me that doing weight exercises help to strengthen my bones. It’s inspiring to know that “people who do regularly exercises age slower.” After the visit, I feel happy. Thank you Lord EVEN THOUGH our bodies are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 2 Corinthians 4:16

~from my joy journal written 12/5/2014… It’s been 7.5 years.. same principle applies then, now and always..

When Silence is Gold…

Have you ever been accused of anything? I have. How did you respond? I had the need to explain myself – to defend myself. I felt wronged. I had to right myself.

Jesus too was accused. He was put on trial, accused wrongly. And what did he do? What did he say? Let’s see..

The Inquisition of Jesus
Matthew 27:11-14
Now Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor questioned Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?” And Jesus said to him, “It is as you say.” And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He did not answer. Then Pilate *said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?” And He did not answer him with regard to even a single charge, so the governor was quite amazed.

Whoa! How did he do that? He did not answer (v. 12) He did not answer him with regard to even a single charge. (v.14) Not a word, not a sound!

So the governor was quite amazed.

Ahhhh.. Jesus’ silence amazed his accuser. Jesus did not need to explain or defend himself because he knew he did no wrong. He knew he was sent to do the Father’s will.

Bottom line: There is sense of quiet confidence in solitude, standing alone even when everything and everyone is against you. There is assurance of self-identity. Who am I? I’m the beloved Son of God. There is confidence of a purpose-driven act. What do I need to do? I have to obey my Father in heaven. In this, I rest my case. I can be quiet. No need for words.

Being a Comfort in Discomfort

1 Samuel 22
David left Gath and escaped to the cave of Adullam. When his brothers and his father’s household heard about it, they went down to him there. 2 All those who were in distress or in debt or discontented gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him.

David was fleeing for his life. Saul wanted to kill him. Yet, he became the leader of 400 men – not 400 influential men of wealth or position to help him out of his bad place. These were men in distress, in debt or dissatisfied with their current circumstances.

When one is in distress or in a hard place, is it natural for him to take on more load – to lead a band of people perhaps in worse condition than he is in? What strength enabled David to help other people when he himself needed help?

It must be his deep relationship with his God – his constant link to open communication about all that is in his heart – his fears, his tears, his triumphs, his defeat, his joy and his praise. All these he poured out to God in his prayers and praises in the psalms.

And it is not a one way street. God constantly sent people to minister and help David. David had the prophets like Nathan and Gad (to rebuke, encourage, direct and guide him). He had friends and allies like Jonathan and these 400 men to accompany him through the journey.

When I am in hard place, is my attention on my own small confined world of concerns? Am I attentive to other people in harder places that God sends to me? Am I aware of God’s presence in each detail of life? Do I hear and heed the still small voice of the Holy Spirit? What am I doing in response to this voice? Staying put in my ‘comfortable’ discomfort? Am I obedient to this call of Jesus?

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.
Luke 9:23-24 NIV

To deny myself is to get out of the self-focused, selfish indulgence of the flesh. To deny myself is to turn my back and fight against this mortal morally weak body – with its sinful desires and take up the cross of Jesus – the cross that takes on these sins – to crucify these sins and let them reign no more. It’s a one-time thing yet a daily dependence on the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome my weak body… to follow Jesus – to be his disciple.

Today, the world around me is suffering, dying, in pain, in grief, anxious, fearful and sad. Am I getting out of my comfort zone to be a comfort to those who are crying? What am I doing to mourn with those who mourn? How do I reflect the suffering Christ who gave his life because he loves and obeys God, the Father? What can I do to be his mouth, his hands and his feet to be his messenger of hope and comfort even when life is not easy?

I keep writing. I persist to share God’s message of hope, peace and love. I tell stories of God’s amazing grace and mercy in my uncomfortable places in life. The greater the pain, the louder the message – God is good. He will never leave me or forsake me. This is my hope and assurance.

Let it be yours too, my friend. Read the Bible. Know Jesus and experience God’s wonderful plan and purpose for you in the uncomfortable places of your life.

God is Present: Hope in Such a time as this

This morning, I woke with a sense of sadness and helplessness.
sad for suffering & grieving friends.. sadder still that there seems to be nothing I can do to lessen the suffering or the grief..

In the past 2 days, bad news abound one after the other. A friend lost both parents within 5 days. My ninong lost his nephew. More friends and their families are testing positive, in isolation, in quarantine, in hospitals, in pain, in fear, in anxiety, in grief.

A friend/colleague of my Abi is re-admitted, hospitalised again. This compassionate doctor returned to work even when she was not completely well because her colleagues are overworked and the hospital understaffed.

Amidst the sadness, I find hope in the stories I read from the Bible this morning. The stories of Joseph, of David and Goliath are very familiar ones. Yet these words stood out for me today:
“The Lord was with Joseph.” (Gen. 39:2,3,5,21,23)
“The Lord was with David.” (1 Sam. 18:12, 14, 28)

Joseph was betrayed by his brothers. Alone in a strange land, from a favored son, he became a slave. From being a trusted servant, he became a prisoner for a crime he did not commit.

David just killed Goliath. He was Saul’s servant and musician. Saul got jealous of David coz people praised David for killing more than Saul did. He sought to kill David. Saul became more afraid of David because he knew God was with David. (1 Sam. 18:12, 28, 29)

God’s presence: this is my hope. Emmanuel, God with us. This Christmas name holds true today and always. God is present in such a time as this. How do I know? I know because I see God in these suffering souls. These friends and families who are in pain and in grief, they pray on, they fight on, they stand firm, they stand tall because they believe God is with them in their sufferings.

How do I know? I asked. How are you these days?

Here is the answer:

I’m stable but in pain. It feels like a dog with sharp teeth is biting …. n won’t let go. I’m surviving thru much prayers, esp at night when I can’t lie down. God is good. He makes me sleep when I’m exhausted. I’m truly thankful for that.

God is good. He is with my friend. That is my hope in such a time as this.

Longing for Heaven

I used to long for Jesus to come sooner… why? So I would not need to face the sad, depressing, frustrating, disappointing, upsetting stuffs in my life! Not a very positive longing… just a cowardly escaping…

I also heard so many pleas or prayers of elderly people for God to take them – ‘quickly please, Lord’.
It is rare or even never to hear of such prayer from people who are enjoying the good life on earth, is it not?

How different should a Christian’s perspective about this longing for heaven be?

Paul’s answer: 2 Corinthians 5 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Perspective: The Temporal vs The Eternal

5 For we know that if the earthly tent (our earthly physical body) which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, 3 inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. 4 For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. 5 Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.

6 Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— 7 for we walk by faith, not by sight— 8 we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. 9 Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

Paraphrase: While on earth, we are to be always of good courage, walking by faith, not by sight, of good cheer even (even though longing to be with the Lord), to have as our ambition – whether here or there, to be pleasing to God. Why? Because we must all appear before God one day for His verdict – whether what we do here on earth – good or bad, we will be ‘recompensed’ (compensated, repaid, rewarded) accordingly. Recompense means compensation or reward given for loss or harm suffered or effort made.

Application: When life is tough, be brave. Look forward with hope to heaven… that someday all these sufferings will be gone. This hope spurs us on to face the challenges with courage and joy to overcome, not with cowardice, fear and anxiety to run away!

I wrote the above piece 2 years ago today… before Covid happened! Today, it is a timely reminder for me… a hopeful assurance that one day, when Jesus returns, all the sufferings of this world will end. This hope enables me to live each day, step by step, moment by moment with good courage.. walking by faith, not by sight.. that amidst the trying times, God has given us the Spirit as pledge to overcome the world and all its challenges!