The Lord’s many blessings to all who may be reading my blog for the month of November. Normally I write my blog at the first of the month but I was out of the country, in the Philippines, the first 2 weeks of November.
Our church has been supporting a church in the Philippines, Jesus Flock, for almost 10 years. We have sent monthly support for the school they run in the Philippines and also in the provinces. We have also been honored to help them rebuild after a devastating flood they had one year. The senior pastor at Jesus Flock, Pastor Jerome Ocampo, has been a dear brother and friend of mine and our church all these years, as well as all of his staff and church members.
I was invited by Pastor Jerome to come to the Philippines to attend a youth conference and a leader’s conference that were being held at the Philippines. When both conferences were finished, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel over 4 hours to one of the church plants in the Quezon province to visit Pastor Mario and see his work there. What a wonderful blessing that was; and let me also say what a humbling experience that was.
As in metro Manila, and much more evident in the province’s, there are many who do not have very much, if anything at all. As I drove down the many streets of Manila and also to the church plant in the Quezon province, I sadly saw how many of the people lived, and many of them brothers and sisters in the Lord. I was moved with the inexplicable joy they had on their faces. Their smiles were not phony and their hospitality and how they honored me was simply unbelievable; it brought me to tears.
I have one thing to ask this Thanksgiving month: ‘How truly thankful are we?’ The Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 5:19-20 “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of the our Lord Jesus Christ.”
The people in the Philippines live their lives that way in every possible way. Now I am not saying that the Christians in the Philippines are perfect Christians for there are no perfect Christians; sorry to burst anyone’s bubble. What I do worry about is that maybe we in the great nation of America have gotten a bit fat and lazy in our giving thanks. We just elected a President that wants to make the government the provider of all of our needs and who supports, abortion, gay marriage and turns his back on Israel and that worries me. Yet I know we have been called to pray for our President and I am calling all believers to do that; please pray for President Obama.
As Christians, the government was never meant to be the provider of all our needs; the one on whom we counted on. David declares in Psalm 31:14 “But I trust in You, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.” Psalm 91:1-2 “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress; my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 146:5 “Blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, whose hope is in the Lord his God.”
The Christians in the Philippines have lived through one corrupt government after another and yet they smile as they serve the Lord for the have learned to be truly thankful in all things and who hope in the Lord. I have to sadly admit my brothers and sisters that after being in the Philippines; I cannot say that I have always been truly thankful in all things. In fact I would go as far as to say that I hear myself grumble more at times than shout praises of thanksgiving to the Lord and for that I am truly ashamed.
Are you truly thankful for what the Lord has done for you my dear friend? Maybe like me, you find yourself grumbling more than expressing thanks to the Lord. You and I can change that in an instant my brother my sister. Would you join me my friend in doing that this Thanksgiving and every day that follows 🙂
Categories: A Pastor's Blog