On Sundays at 3pm. Please contact Bro Jose Lagapa: 81853623 anytime.
Dear Brethren and Friends,
Welcome to the Filipino Bible Fellowship!
Last Thursday, I received a message from our Bro Carlo that his mother went home to be with the Lord. I was bit shocked because “Mama Clarita” as she was fondly called, was still actively attending the Christian Bible Fellowship (CBF) last month. In fact, she was so early that I felt ashamed to arrive later than her waiting under the hot sunny afternoon because the door of our CBF meeting place was still locked. During our first meeting in 2017, I already noticed God’s working in her life. I thought she would just brush off the message preached because Cebuanos (those who hail from the island of Cebu) are generally staunch Roman Catholics. The Cebuanos, by the way, were among the first Filipino tribes who received Roman Catholicism way back in the early 1500’s. So I tried to approach Mama Clarita after the message and shared to her again the gospel. I cannot forget her words saying, “The Word of God is really different from the words of men.” It dawned on me that she appreciated God’s Word as a comfort and source of hope for her. She also acknowledges that in the Lord there is forgiveness of sins.
I saw her again when I was tasked to have a Bible study with Bro Carlo’s siblings before we started the CBF. That Sunday afternoon, there was a big fire in one of the malls in Lapu-lapu City that caused heavy traffic jams. Since she came from the opposite direction she was able to come on time. She even invited few young people to join us. Being worried that only few arrived and past the scheduled time, she took her own initiative to call each of her children to come and find other routes that they may be able to join the Bible study. She was concerned with the spiritual aspects of her children.
We met again during the launching of the CBF in Cebu. She was bringing her children and friends to come and attend the meeting. Since then she was active in the CBF, although sometimes she was absent due to her health. In one of my scheduled preaching in CBF, she joined us even though she just got out from the hospital. She used to be fetched by her grandson, but in one occasion that no one came to give her a ride, she went out alone and walk towards the CBF. Thank God that a relative passed by and gave her a lift to the CBF. She is an encouragement to the fellowship and she kept on asking us to pray that all her children might be united as one under the headship of the Lord Jesus Christ.
She is 69 years old when the Lord took her home. She had been in and out of the hospital because of diabetes and finally a kidney failure before she passed away. She wanted to be discharged and the doctors allowed her even in her bad situation. A day after she left the hospital, she was taken home by God.
As the Psalmist writes, “Remember how short my time is: wherefore hast thou made all men in vain? What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the grave? Selah” (Psalm 89:47–48). So Moses prayed in Psalms 90:9–12, “For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: we spend our years as a tale that is told. The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
We really cannot tell when our last day is on earth. As I ministered on Friday afternoon to the family of Bro Carlo during the vigil service, the Lord gave me the burden to share John 11:25–26, “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?” I shared two points, first that resurrection and life is only in Christ Jesus because He is the eternal God and the Creator of life; and the second is that resurrection and life is availed by faith alone in His work and Word. There were many Roman Catholics who listened and let us pray the seed of the Gospel sown in them will grow unto their salvation.
Indeed, it is “… better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart. Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth” (Ecclesiastes 7:2–4). As I shared the Word of the Lord, I was also reminded of the brevity of my life. I cannot say that since I do not have a terminal disease I may still last longer on earth. We all are in terminal cases whether one will acquire a terminal disease or not. Accidents and disasters are able to end our lives on earth. But let us remember that only God knows our ends. Not one will die without God’s appointment. Therefore, let us always be prepared, “Prepare to meet thy God” (Amoz 4:12) to come before Him face to face, whether in death or during the Rapture.
For us let us not take for granted of the life God has given us. Let us not waste it with the filth and dirt in this world. Let us spend our life in a very worthwhile stay on this earth. That can only happen when we entrust our lives unto the Lord when we repent of our sins and believe in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. Only then can we be indwelt by the Spirit of God and be led to live a life pleasing before Him. Without God our lives are meaningless and full of emptiness. People who do not have Christ do not have also the direction of life towards heaven. He is unaware that he is heading towards eternal condemnation in the Lake of Fire. God’s Word promises that whosoever believe in Jesus Christ should not perish forever but will have everlasting life.
Many people in their middle ages still think they have a long way to go. Please do not be caught with Satan’s deception that you can enjoy the world first and then come to Christ at an old age before you die. But when will this be? Who among us can determine his/her days on earth? Even great doctors do not have the idea when his patient will pass away, how much more us? We may end up finding ourselves dead without having Christ and will wake up to be cast in to the fires of Hell! “While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.” (Hebrews 3:15).
Mama Clarita is in the good hands of our Saviour, where there is no more sickness and death! Don’t you want to live eternally in heaven too? – Bro Jose
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