A New Family

>> Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Today's Readings:
First Reading: Proverbs 21:1-6, 10-13
Psalm 119
Gospel: Luke 8:19-21

Then his mother and his brothers came to see him but were unable to join him because of the crowd. He was told, "Your mother and your brothers are standing outside and they wish to see you." He said to them in reply, "My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it."

"My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it." Luke 8:21

When we first joined CFC or Couples for Christ here in Japan,I thought that it was going to be just a passing thing - that we would not be able to actively participate in the household meetings and all that. I thought this way because during that time, I was pregnant with our first child and thought that it would hinder us from joining since some of our household members live almost an hour away by train. But I was proven wrong. Household after household, we would join. No matter the distance and the late hours when we would have to travel back home. Perhaps it is God's love that sustained us and inspired us to be present in the household meetings.

One thing that I do love about the CFC is that our community here feels like our own family. There are no pretenses, no reservations - just the full acceptance of our brothers and sisters. It matters not what your stature in life is. It feels so good to be in fellowship with this people who, despite their accomplishments in life, remain simple, down to earth and steadfast in their faith in God. This is where I felt genuine love from my brothers and sisters. There is where I felt welcomed and at home. And now that I have my baby to take care, we cannot attend the household meetings regularly anymore. But I am comforted by the fact that even if we are not there, they still continue to pray for us as we for them. And if the opportunity to hold the household meeting in our home arises, we always say YES. It is just so hard to pass up this opportunity to be in fellowship with people who share the same faith and culture.

Thank God for this Christian family in a land where there seems to be religion.


Reliance on God

>> Monday, September 1, 2008

Today's Readings:
First Reading: 1 Corinthians 2:10-16
Psalm 145
Gospel: Luke 4:31-37

Jesus Drives Out an Evil Spirit
Then he went down to Capernaum, a town in Galilee, and on the Sabbath began to teach the people. They were amazed at his teaching, because his message had authority. In the synagogue there was a man possessed by a demon, an evil spirit. He cried out at the top of his voice, "Ha! What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!" "Be quiet!" Jesus said sternly. "Come out of him!" Then the demon threw the man down before them all and came out without injuring him. All the people were amazed and said to each other, "What is this teaching? With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!" And the news about him spread throughout the surrounding area.

Jesus rebuked him and said, "Be quiet! Come out of him!" - Luke 4:35

There are times in my life when I thought that I could rely solely on my own strength and intelligence and will. These are the times when I thought that I could do anything - when successes come one after the other. These are such happy and glorious times that I tend to rely solely on myself. But there are also times when challenges beset me. Believing that I can do it myself because I have been victorious and successful in many ways, I depend on what I have and what I can do. Then things begin to crumble to pieces because I only have myself to rely upon. I know I can do it, but why do I seem to fall apart?

It is during these failing moments, when I seem to give up on life, that I pray to God. There, God revealed to me my own pride. Of course I lift up to Him my weakness, I do trust in His power to help me in my weaknesses, but I too often rely on myself - Ah, Pride! But what good can it do?

God used these circumstances to teach me that victoriously serving Him does not hinge on my willpower or even talents He has given me. God calls on me to rely solely on His power in all circumstances. This power that He gave to us as believers is the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. And it is also the power that Jesus Christ used to command the evil spirit to leave the man in today's Gospel reading. While things don't always go as I expect, I am learning to rely on God's power and greatness than on my personal fortitudes.

May God bless us all!

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