Thursday, December 18, 2008

Today's Devotion- Unto Us A Son Is Given

by Pastor Bong Gonzales

Isaiah 9:6-7
For to us a child is born,to us a son is given,and the government will be on his shoulders.And he will be calledWonderful Counselor, Mighty God,Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peacethere will be no end.He will reign on David's throneand over his kingdom,establishing and upholding itwith justice and righteousnessfrom that time on and forever.The zeal of the Lord Almightywill accomplish this. NIV

One of the most common act on this Christmas season is giving.

This morning our three children asked my beloved wife if the gift for their classmates are already prepared for tomorrow's Christmas party in their schools. One of them gave an amount that is seemingly expensive than others, and he said "because the recipient is special to me and I want to be a real Santa".

As I heard this I started to recollect and remember the idea of being a santa. According to tradition "Santa Claus" was rich man with a name of "Nicholas" who happen to sold all he has and started giving it to the poor people which are many in his time. After this his benevolent act reached the other side of the town and started sending him their donations so that he can distribute it to others. He was then, venerated to saintly status and his act became part of the Christmas seasons, where parents started to tell their children that Santa will come and give them gifts as they do good deeds. So today, it became a model for giving, especially in this Christmas season.

But what is be the greatest gift that we have received that makes this Season a reason to celebrate? Giving kind and even expensive gifts are so noble and even a good spirit not only this season but all year round.

Any how, if Christmas is only to give gifts like this, we might loose the true meaning of Christmas which is centered to the one (The Son) given to us!

He is the reason for this Season! Jesus Christ the begotten of God. If we have recieved Him, then Christmas is a reality to us. But how about the many, whose only reason for the season is finding "Santa" and being a "Santa". Let us give the greatest gift to someone special to us. Let's give them "The Son" who should govern our lives to make it a true merry to live by.

May we being a Christians, together with our gifts in reference to santa should become a messenger of the Son who was given to everyone and to bless those who will believe in Him.

Let's just set aside the argument of the existence of santa, but rather let us use this time to give the one who is given; The Son of God in whom we shall be saved!

As we observe around many are just trying to make this season in the Spirit of Christmas, which is giving and loving, all in which Jesus Christ came!!!

We don't need to have a lot of money to be able to give; Give what's in your heart, your joy, your peace, your forgiveness, your service or a prayer! Why not? Prayer moves mountain, it brings us this miracle, as people of old, prayed for the coming of the Savior and He did come!

Let us start to give the true Christmas gift which is all centered in Christ Jesus!

God bless and Merry Christmas and have an Overflowing Blessed New Year!!!

Till next time!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Today's Devotion-A Chosen Vessel

by Pastor Bong Gonzales

Luke 1:38
"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her. NIV

One of the unusual event in the advent of the Messiah is the way he was born. We all know that He was born to a virgin whose name was "Mary". Without her willingness to be a vessel for the fulfillment of the coming of the Savior, we might still be grasping in the dark and still looking for him.

But was the vessel just randomly chosen? A question that can be answered by the word of God itself. If we will read the whole context of the verse in this devotion note, we will find that the greeting of Angel Gabriel includes the "you are highly favored"! Therefore, blessed Mary was chosen after a series of selection and even of timing! Though it does not imply that she is sinless but rather "Favored". A word that is defined as unmerited and just at the disposition of the one giving it.

This celebration of the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ is in our midst today because there are vessels who were willing to be used by God even to the price of discomfort, rejection, misconceptions and even death. God is still looking for vessel whom He can choose for His own plans and purposes. In many generations, in our history we can see that many vessels have already done their part. In this season, may we be found by Him ready to fulfill His plans. Mary said, "May it be unto me as you have said." In other translation is goes this way: "Be it unto me according to your word"!!!No complain, no need for explanation, just a simple obedience that resulted in the salvation of many! Most of the time, there will be many unexplained things that happens in our lives, some are painful, some are good, life giving and others taking lives but are good to remember, others are not be be remembered or even told to others. But no matter where we are coming from, in this life we have a calling to fulfill! And only Him who has the disposition to choose will choose His vessel!

That's why the challenge is not in doing many things, or even achieving more than others, but knowing and doing what is required of us by our Maker! When that time comes and it will come, may we be found ready to respond "Be it unto me according to your word'! He choose His vessel. He cleans His vessel. He test and try His vessel. He equip His vessel.
He trusts His vessel. He accompanies His vessel. He protects His vessel. He comforts is vessel. He rewards His vessel!

Are you ready to be found in Him with favor?

May we always thank God for sending His Son to make us His children! May we be a vessel of His Son to make others His children too!

Till next time and have a Blessed Christmas Season!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Today's Devotion-We found the Messiah

by Pastor Bong Gonzales

John 1:41-42
The first thing Andrew did was to find his brother Simon and tell him, "We have found the Messiah" (that is, the Christ). 42 And he brought him to Jesus.NIV

Before migrating here in Canada, December is a very lively and Christ-centered month. Especially to us who came from a nation whose only hope is God! As we adjust to the new home and country, we found that December is not the same as to where we came from, there we greet each other "Merry Christmas." Here we will be greeted "Happy Holidays" or "Seasons Greetings".

Its because our society here does not want to offend those who don't believe the Messiah. Well, not in the Scripture, for there, we found the record why this month is something to really celebrate. Its not because there are more sales in the malls, neither because we have lots of invitations for almost all special events, but simply because this is the celebration of the most awaited "Messiah". He has been prophesied thousand of years before His birth. Many still do not know He already came, some are still waiting for another one, which for them is better than Him. But who can meet up with His credentials? He is born of a virgin, fulfilled all prophesies in the book of the prophets and of course, rose from the dead!

We have found the Messiah!!! A proclaimed word of those who believed Him! Like the early apostles, our message to the world should be "We have found the Messiah!!! For many are still lost in hope, tortured by shame, in bondage of sin and living in hopelessness! This Christmas season, may the true celebration come to the heart of many if not to all! "The messiah has come" He is the center of this season!

Christmas spirit is not in the month, its in the "Man." He came to bring salvation to all mankind, but like a gift we must accept Him, by believing in Him!

But how can they know HIm, if we who knows Him are not as bold as those who were before us in Him? They were willing to give up their lives for Him who gave His life for us!

May we also go to our friends, relatives and area of influence and tell them "We have found the Messiah" and bring them to Him!

Its our moral duty to bring people to Him, for that's what right minded people should do, after receiving so much blessings, like peace, health and freedom. Let us celebrate this season by proclaiming that "The Messiah has come". He is the Christ, the Savior, and whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life!!!

Let's give to them what we have found: Christ Jesus, "The Messiah"!

If you came across this message and have not yet found Him, well He is just a prayer away! He is alive and can give you what you are looking for. Actually only Him can give! The life ever lasting, the peace that passes all understanding, the joy overflowing and the acceptance without condition! An unconditional love!!!

God bless and Till next time!!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Today's devotion-Blessed to be a blessing

by Pastor Bong Gonzales

Deuteronomy 28:8
The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.NIV

There was a man, who owns a "well" but he is so arrogant and selfish. Every time his neighbor would ask for a bucket of water, he will turn them away with nothing, for he said to himself; "this is mine and for my family alone. What if it runs out as I give some to them?" So he decided to put a cover and padlock it so that no one can get water when he is not around. Because of the attitude of this person, he has no friend and his neighbors hate him so much and even despise him. One day, while he was cooking, the fire got loose from his oven and caused the fire to consume his house, as he asked for help, his neighbor run to assist him and all went to the "well" to get water, but to their disappointment the well was covered and locked, so they just ended up, watching the man in his helplessness while all his belonging was consumed by fire.

An opposite story also happened somewhere, that a certain man, who just bought a new car, which is actually the only one in the neighborhood. His neighbors would come to him for any emergency and even for many kind of occasion to request and borrow his car, where he usually grants and lends without charge. Because of this, many loved him and became his friend. But because of overuse, his car broke down in just few years. He was not able to replace it for lack of money to buy a new one. After a while Christmas time came, then a knock on his door came that night. As he opened his door, there were his neighbors, singing to him Christmas song and after that gave him a gift well wrapped. As he open it, he found a key, with a note that says "During your time of blessing you bless us. Now that you need one we will bless you. The key is for your brand new car!!! Our gift to you!!!"

An old story, but that character still roams around, specially to those who have been blessed somehow. Whether we share it or hide it is our call and disposition, but let us always remember that we are "blessed to be a blessing". Let us follow the very example of our Lord who gave the best for all of us. He is the source of all that we have, and to Him, its always blessed to give than to received!

Let us look for an opportunity to be blessed as well as to be a blessing! May we become a "well" of blessings to many so that we can become a "Spring" of blessings before we can become an "overflowing fountain" of blessing!!!!

Expect to be blessed, because our God is a blessing God! But He expect us to be a blessing as well!!

God bless and let's share a blessing again next time!

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