Monday, February 4, 2013

A Divine Appointment

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you." 

I was surprised to hear those words as I listened to the First Reading in church.  I continued to listen intently and I felt my heart leap with joy as I listened and meditated on God's Words being proclaimed that night. 

I was busy the whole day last Saturday preparing for my sharing at The Feast in PICC. It was already afternoon when my husband said that we'll attend anticipated Mass because we might not make it on time to the 8 am Mass in PICC for the kids wake up late and I would be sharing my testimony in all the three sessions (8 to 10 am, 9:30 to 11:30 am and 10:45 am to 12:45 pm) of The Feast in PICC which were overlapping.  I didn't get to read the readings for Sunday before we left the house.  But I was so glad that my husband decided that we'd attend anticipated Mass in that church for God spoke powerfully and clearly to me through the readings, the homily and the song during communion. 

I felt that God has handpicked me to share my testimony yesterday at The Feast in PICC.  The readings for yesterday affirmed me of the assignment I got from God.  My circumstances led me to the same conclusion. Let me share with you why.

Here are the readings that moved me the most.  Kerygma Family Daily Readings

The Gospel Acclamation
and the Gospel for Sunday.
I have always felt an affinity with the prophet Jeremiah because he was called to be a prophet at a young age.  This was one of his challenges and concerns.  But God strengthened him and empowered him to do the task that was entrusted to him.  I felt that way also when I started preaching and sharing my testimony and insights at a young age.  I still feel the same now.  Maybe because I compare myself to the other preachers I know who are mostly older than me.  Or maybe because I usually find myself leading groups whose members are mostly older than me.  That is why when I heard the First Reading from the Book of the Prophet Jeremiah, I knew right away that God was strengthening me and encouraging me that night.  I knew that it was God's way of assuring me that saying yes to this assignment is part of His plan for my life and my mission as His disciple.

Another reason that the First Reading had a big impact on me was because it reminded me of my supposed radio guesting yesterday, Sunday.  I mentioned in my previous blog posts here and here that George and I were scheduled to share about our love story in DZME's The Christian Family radio program.  Around two weeks ago, I was informed that there will be a change in schedule and that we will be advised eventually of the final schedule. 

When I got a call on Monday last week and I was invited to share my testimony in PICC yesterday, I understood why our radio guesting originally scheduled for the morning of  February 3 was moved.  God wanted me to share in PICC that day.  Even the anchor for the radio program was amazed when I shared my realization with him.

Then, the Second Reading was read.  It was also an affirmation for me for God knows that it's out of my great love for Him that I'm doing all that I'm doing now, be it writing or preaching about HIm and His works in my life.  He knows very well that I love Him so much I cannot say no to Him when He invites me or calls me to serve Him.  So I say yes to Him be it something that would entail me to work in the background or stand in front of a crowd.  To me, it doesn't really matter much.  What matters to me more is if I'm obeying God and if I'm giving Him my all.

The Gospel acclamation and the Gospel spoke powerfuly to me as well especially when the priest explained it point by point in his homily.  It's as if God was speaking in front of me through the priest that night.  I could relate with Jesus' experience in the Gospel yesterday because I also experienced rejection.  God used that rejection however to enable me to serve and bless more people with my gifts of writing and preaching.  That rejection paved the way for me to make time for other opportunities to serve other groups and to serve God in other ways.  Some of these services I didn't even imagine I would do.  But as Romans 8:28 says, "all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."  That's exactly what the priest said in his homily.  Because Jesus' neighbors and relatives rejected him or doubted him, didn't have enough faith in him, Jesus chose to perform more and greater miracles outside of his hometown.  His neighbors and relatives didn't recognize God's anointing on Him because they were familiar with him and his immediate family.  These people failed to see beyond the ordinariness of Jesus.  They failed to see God's hand at work in Him and through Him.  But the priest said that this seemingly sad/negative response from Jesus' neighbors and relatives paved the way for Jesus to bless more people, people even outside of his own village/town. 

Aside from that, I was amazed that the widow of Zarephath was mentioned in the Gospel yesterday.  I was inspired to end my testimony with the story of the widow of Zarephath and her encounter with the prophet Elijah last week when I wrote my testimony so I can submit it to the coordinator of The Feast PICC.  I felt that God confirmed to me my inspiration to use it as I end my testimony and as I exhort the brothers and sisters yesterday to share whatever little they have to minister to God's servants for just like what God did to that widow and to me, God did not let our food supply run out and we even became instruments of God's provisions to God's servants.  So amazing!

I was so inspired and encouraged by what I heard God spoke to me through the priest that night that I had to come up to him and tell him that God used him powerfully to speak His Words of affirmation to me.

I was also moved by the song sang by the choir during communion.  I think it was the first time that I heard the song. It was in Filipino.  What struck me in the song were the lines that said that we need to keep on doing what is good.  I felt God encouraging me to keep up the good works I'm doing because as the song goes/says, when we do, we shine brightly for God and lead people to God.  There was a line in the song also that says when we delight in the Lord, He will grant our deepest wishes and fulfill our dreams.  Beautiful message!

I was teary-eyed for the most part of the Mass. :) My heart was filled with joy.  I praised and thanked God for my husband who was attuned to His leading and suggested we hear Mass that night and in that church. God used that celebration of the Holy Eucharist to prepare me for my task of witnessing for Him the following morning.

I praise and thank God as well for empowering me and giving me wisdom, courage and strength to stand before crowds yesterday and share my testimony.  It was a bit intimidating at first because it was my first time to speak in a very big place like PICC and in front of a very big crowd like that.  I had been speaking in auditoriums or gyms or conferences but yesterday's experience was wonderfully different.  It was my joy and my honor to deliver His message to the brothers and sisters in the faith present yesterday at The Feast.  Obeying God and loving Him with my all by saying yes to Him yesterday was in itself my greatest reward or prize. But God is exceedingly good and He gave me bonuses.  There were a number of people who came up to me and told me that they were blessed/moved/inspired by my testimony.  There were some who said it was a powerful testimony/message.  There were people who cried during my testimony.  Awesome!  I know very well that it was the Holy Spirit at work, moving people through the words that I spoke.  And yet those were not my words really. For I prayed to God that I would speak His Words and not my Words and that I would deliver His message and not my message to the congregation.  I acknowledged that I am just His mouthpiece, His instrument and that I am just privileged to be chosen by God to perform that role yesterday.

Below is a video of my sharing during the first session of The Feast in PICC.

Not to me, not to me, but to God be the glory!

Let me share two songs that express very well what's in my heart and mind.  The first one was sang during worship in Feast Sucat before I gave my testimony.  I was also in tears while singing this worship song then.  The second one was sang yesterday at The Feast in PICC before I gave my testimony.  I was in tears again because I felt that God was even helping me pray to Him through that song.



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