Reflection Article

HEALING

“At once, the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked,” says John 5:9, NIV

Have you experienced the miracle of healing?

It took thirty-eight years before this man received healing.  The moment he had long been waiting for finally arrived. The Scripture says, “At once, the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.” This person’s long-suffering ended with a long-lasting gift of healing, allowing him to walk on his two feet again after sitting for very long years. Upon reading this miracle story, some may wonder, could this also happen to me? Would it not be great if everyone could experience this kind of transformation?

I admire this man’s firm assertion of what he believes could cure him. Him waiting on the side of the pool demonstrated his steadfast conviction that healing is a possibility. He actively participated in this healing process through his patience, dedication, and courage that never wavered through those years, along with a crowd of people also seeking healing for themselves. The saying, “While there is life, there is hope,” describes this man’s belief, attitude, and behavior. His life grounded in hope gave him a reason to live, and his hope for a renewed life gave him the tenacity to live his life in its fullness.

He reminds me of an unknown author who writes, “Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn’t you – all of the expectations, all of the beliefs – and becoming who you are.” In this man’s case, he didn’t allow his illness and the difficulties he was facing to define who he was nor to determine what his future could be. His healing experience only affirms his true self, which never weakened or was compromised because of his physical deficiency. Nothing in life, even his physical disability, separated him from his authentic self and the love of God.

How do you celebrate your true self and self-worth amid difficulty? In dealing with your predicament, whether in finances, health, relationship, or work, lingering for a long time and too difficult to overcome or get out of, where do you find strength, help, and refuge? Are you taking responsibility for standing firm and resolving your problematic situation decisively? Does being part of “people in the crowd” provide you with a support network and a sense of belongingness? Is faith in God a resource that helps you remain strong amid strenuous circumstances?

May we all find healing power from within, restoring our hope, removing our fear, and bringing us peace today and tomorrow. We can stand up with Jesus. We can pick up our “mat and walk,” and God’s grace will sustain us. As we get back to standing and walking on our own two feet, let us give thanks to God and tell the gift of Jesus’ healing to others.

Prayer Song:

“Heal Me, Hands of Jesus” by Michael A. Perry

Heal me, hands of Jesus, and search out all my pain;

Restore my hope, remove my fear, and bring me peace again.

Cleanse me, blood of Jesus, take bitterness away;

Let me forgive as one forgiven and bring me peace today.

Know me, mind of Jesus, and show me all my sin;

Dispel the memories of guilt and bring me peace within.

Fill me, joy of Jesus; anxiety shall cease,

And heaven’s serenity be mine, for Jesus brings me peace. Amen.

RECIPROCITY

“If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?” says Matthew 5:46, NIV 

Twenty years ago, we bought a 2003 Grand Caravan SUV in Green Bay, WI. The odometer reading indicates that it has driven 195,750 miles today. We have driven this vehicle cross-country multiple times, and it is our reliable companion during our family road trips. My whole family has a strong emotional attachment to this car. We gave him the nickname “Tatang,” a Tagalog term for an elderly man, and by calling him Tatang, it feels like he is a family member, not just simply a utility van. Our “Tatang” takes care of us, and we gladly reciprocate its goodness by taking care of all its needs.

Confucius said, “There is one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one’s life -reciprocity.” The practice of reciprocity is like saying love begets love. It is ‘exchanging things with others for mutual benefit.’ To maintain vital and healthy connections to all kinds of relationships, our intentionality of practicing reciprocity plays a key role. A reciprocal relationship promotes mutual exchange of support, respect, and care. As you know, reciprocity looks different for each connection. Yet, the goal of maintaining a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship is similar regardless of what kind of relationship.

Can you name one or two examples of your own reciprocal relationship? As you identify and evaluate your various reciprocal relationships, including your reciprocal relationship with yourself, ask these questions: How does reciprocity help you better relate to others and yourself? In what situation could reciprocity be healthy and helpful, and when is it possibly not? More importantly, what is your motive for practicing reciprocity?

Jesus’ teaching can help respond to this question. He asked, “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?” The motivation should not be a reward but love itself. When you genuinely love your neighbor as you love yourself, your healthy practice of reciprocity naturally manifests itself, and your act of love is your reward. What steps would you take to help you grow in this aspect of love in creating healthy reciprocity?

In the world we live in today, there are many grounds why we can hate, despise, and discriminate against each other for selfish reasons. We are susceptible to doing good for the wrong reason and using the wrong reason as the basis for what seems to be an act of goodness. Jesus’ words about love and how love motivates us to connect with others offer a better way to practice reciprocity. May the love of God and our love for God, others, and ourselves be our guide in building mutually beneficial relationships with one another and the whole creation. Are you in love with God so much that you are ready to share this love with others?

Prayer Song:

Pass It On by Kurt Kaiser

It only takes a spark to get a fire going

And soon all those around can warm up in the glowing

That’s how it is with God’s love once you’ve experienced it

You’ll spread His love to everyone.

You’ll want to pass it on.

What a wondrous time is spring when all the trees are budding

The birds begin to sing the flowers start their blooming

That’s how it is with God’s love once you’ve experienced it

You’ll want to sing it’s fresh like spring

You’ll want to pass it on.

I wish for you my friend, this happiness that I’ve found

You can depend on Him it matters not where you’re bound

I’ll shout it from the mountain top I want the world to know

The Lord of love has come to me

I want to pass it on. Amen.

 

THE SHEPHERD’S LULLABY

“He makes me lie down in green pastures, says Psalm 23:1, NIV.

I have mixed feelings about the task of putting a baby to sleep. On the one hand, it tests my skills and patience, while on the other hand, it gives me unspeakable joy. In both instances, I rely on the power of singing lullabies, which I found very helpful. Every person can sing a lullaby without fear of being judged for wrong tunes. As a grandfather of two lovely little girls, Eliana and Aleiah, singing lullabies to my granddaughters has been the highlight of my stay with them this summer, and I share this joy with my wife, Clarita. Truth is: singing a lullaby not only helps put the baby to sleep but also enhances my singing ability at the same time. It’s a win altogether!

Kidding aside, with all the craziness going on in the world, both near and far, with natural disasters, wars, hunger, violence, crimes, inflation, and other similar challenges, many people find it hard to sleep and sleep well. We hear and see these problems all day long, and when it is bedtime, it is hard to get them out of our heads and consciousness, which explains why we are having trouble sleeping. Many people think of these things unconsciously, thinking about the trials and troubles through their dreams, so they are exhausted when they wake up. Sleeping disorders are common illnesses nowadays among adults. Don’t you agree that perhaps adults also need a lullaby? What kind of lullaby?

Our Scriptures in Psalms are lullabies that remind us how God cares about us. It is comforting knowledge that “God makes me [us] lie down.” Here, God acknowledges the blessing of rest— a time to relax our body, mind, and soul. Remember, God took a day of rest – sabbath – following his busy week of work as an example for us to follow. Do you take a sabbath regularly as part of your spiritual practices? Have you set aside time during the day to listen to your body and give it time to breathe?

God has set a “green pasture” for his sheep so that they can rest, relax, and be restored. Do you find the “green pasture” God has set for you? Are there things blocking your way to a place of rest and restoration? How do you go over them? We read, And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast” (I Peter 5:10, NIN). Start singing the shepherd’s lullaby. It will put you to sleep – a time and space to be fully aware of God’s presence.

Prayer Song:

“The Lord’s my Shepherd”

The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want;
He makes me down to lie
In pastures green; He leadeth me
The quiet waters by.

My soul He doth restore again,
And me to walk doth make
Within the paths of righteousness,
E’en for His own name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk in death’s dark vale,
Yet will I fear no ill;
For Thou art with me, and Thy rod
And staff me comfort still.

My table Thou hast furnished
In presence of my foes;
My head Thou dost with oil anoint,
And my cup overflows.

Goodness and mercy all my life
Shall surely follow me,
And in God’s house forevermore
My dwelling-place shall be. Amen!

OLD RUGGED SHOES

“Do not remember the former things… I am about to do a new thing,” says in Isaiah 43:18-19, NRSV

The picture above was a pair of shoes that served me well for many years. It traveled with me on most of my domestic and international trips. It accompanied me in doing some errands. It carried me while performing house chores, especially lawn mowing. Sadly, but with deep gratitude, I retired it and put it to rest. I am thankful for the things the two of us did together through all these years. I often think about my old, rugged walking shoes as a companion, not simply a material possession.

I have mixed feelings every time I remember my old, rugged shoes. Just like you, sometimes, I remember the former things with pleasure. We call it reminiscing, which means ‘indulging in enjoyable recollection of past events.’ Do you remember when you pleasantly indulged in recollecting events, people, and dreams? The other side of reminiscing is called rumination, which ‘involves repetitive thinking or dwelling on negative feelings and distress and their causes and consequences.’ Reminiscing and ruminating are both acts of remembering. What is the benefit or disadvantage of practicing either reminiscing or ruminating?

When you reminisce or ruminate, does it only show you the past, or is it also an occasion where you get a glimpse of the future? Do you hold tightly onto the past so much that it prevents you from moving forward? Or are the former things pushing you to move on and seize what the future holds for you?

In our act of remembering, we wrestle with former and future things. The prophetic declaration inspires us to consider taking that transition; Isaiah 43 says, “Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing.” As I said earlier, I miss my old, rugged shoes. Remembering our time together in the past inspires me to move forward with a grateful heart and great anticipation of what new days can bring.

Does your act of remembering help create a bridge from the old to the new? How do you create a bridge that enables you to cross from former things into the future with hope? What is one thing you cherish in your memories that keeps you excited about the future? May we walk humbly with God and live faithfully and with hope as we travel with God each day.

Prayer Song:

O Master, Let Me Walk with Thee – UM Hymn 430

  O Master, let me walk with thee
in lowly paths of service free;
tell me thy secret; help me bear
the strain of toil, the fret of care.

Help me the slow of heart to move
by some clear, winning word of love;
teach me the wayward feet to stay,
and guide them in the homeward way.

Teach me thy patience; still with thee
in closer, dearer company,
in work that keeps faith sweet and strong,
in trust that triumphs over wrong;

In hope that sends a shining ray
far down the future’s broadening way,
in peace that only thou canst give,
with thee, O Master, let me live. Amen.

EYES ON THE HORIZON

“Lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are,” says Genesis 13:14, NIV.

I took this photo while I was on a plane. I was so relieved to see this sight after passing through thick clouds and rough air. As I always do during turbulence, I pray that we get through it quickly and safely so that the plane can go back to a smooth flight. God answered my prayers – the aircraft was flying smoothly again. Then suddenly, this beauty, captured in this photo, became evident. When I saw this astonishing sight, I immediately grabbed my camera (my phone) to capture this magnificent view that calmed my weary mind and body.

Seeing the horizon was breathtaking. It gave me a big relief and the assurance that everything was going to be okay. Sometimes, when you are in a spot that is unstable and covered in darkness, the horizon can become elusive. While passing through a dark zone, fear can often blind our eyes and keep us from appreciating the skyline that is just in the distance. Can you think of a situation when you felt this way? What lessons did you gain from that situation when you felt deprived of hopeful options? What if God forbid, a similar situation like that happens again? Are you equipped to handle it?

Appreciating a good thing during a bad time is not always easy. Often, it seems unimaginable to forecast a brighter outcome when you feel an overwhelming sense of darkness and danger. A restrictive reality enforced by trouble and chaos creates a space where it is very difficult and almost impossible to find the possibility of relief and rescue at the moment. Are you currently dealing with a restrictive situation undermining your ability to see the light at the end of the tunnel? Remember that the tunnel is not the end of the road. No matter how dark or treacherous it could feel, the tunnel is merely a passage you are passing through to get to your destination – a brighter side!

From God’s instructions to Abraham, let us glean, “lift up your eyes and look from the place where you are.” It offers a practical step to finding the horizon. By God saying, “Come outside and look up,” God is assuring Abraham then and us now that the horizon is out there to remind us of God’s promise to love and care for us, a promise that God’s light prevails over darkness, our faith in God overcomes fear, and the peace of Christ conquers any danger, even death. Pray that God gives you the focus of fixing your eyes on the horizon. Can you go beyond what your naked eyes can see to see God’s gift of a new beginning, a new possibility?

Prayer Song

Horizon by ICF Worship


There’s a new day coming, You are on my side
Where You go I go
Give me wings of courage, guide me with Your light
Where You go I go, where You go I go

And to dream out loud, to love without fear
Walk on the edge, knowing You are here

I wanna go further, beyond what I can see
Over the horizon, is where You’re taking me
I wanna live louder and shout across the land
Jesus forever, forever

I step into the unknown, on uncharted ground
I will trust in You
You are full of promise and Your word is true
I will trust in You, I will trust in You. Amen.

DOLPHINS

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us,” says John 1:14, NIV

Is it possible to not notice something so noticeable?

Our group went on a dinner cruise last week in Daytona Beach, Florida. As we boarded the ship, there was a drizzle of rain for a short period, which helped cool down the temperature. Thank God! Everybody found their table and seat and began enjoying everyone’s company. You could hear people having good conversations with their friends. At our table, we told jokes to each other that generated waves of laughter. Then, the main course was ready to serve, which everyone had been anticipating. The food was excellent, and the evening meal was highlighted with a fabulous dessert. Everything seemed normal – the boat, food, and table fellowship. The festivity appeared to be going so well.

Then, something extraordinary happened that caught the attention of every person on the cruise. Twin dolphins emerged on the surface of the water. These two beautiful animals graciously treated our group with graceful maneuvers on the water. They made themselves so evident that nobody could ignore their presence. I’ve never seen a group of adults be so eager to see dolphins in the water. Everyone stood up from their seats to get a closer view of this extra treat of the evening. Many people took photos with the dolphins while they danced and jumped, as they are known to do with excellent skills. Their appearance didn’t last too long, but the joy it brought remained in the hearts of everyone on the ship.

When the dolphins emerged from underneath the water, they captured our attention. We stopped everything we were doing at the time so we could see their lovely presence in our midst with much enthusiasm. Even when they decided to go back underneath and were no longer visible to us, we could feel and know that they kept dancing in the water and singing along with us as we returned to the pier. They indeed made their presence known, bringing tremendous blessings to our group.

The Scriptures in John 1:14 reminds us that God is dwelling among us. Often, God shows up like the dolphins in the story. When God shows up, it is very noticeable, and one can’t help but to recognize God’s presence. Whether God is on the “surface of the water” or “underneath the water,” we can feel God’s gracious companionship with us. I wonder, can one be obscured by something obvious? God being among us is self-evident and prominent and should catch our attention. Isn’t that true? God’s abiding and comforting presence is noticeable. Do you notice it?

Prayer Song:

He Abides by Herbert Buffum

I’m rejoicing night and day,

As I walk the pilgrim way,

For the hand of God in all my life see,

And the reason of my bliss,

Yes, the secret all is this:

That the Comforter abides with me.

He abides…. He abides…

Hallelujah, He abides with me!

I’m rejoicing night and day,

As I walk the narrow way,

For the Comforter abides with me.

He is with me everywhere,

And He knows my every care,

I’m as happy as a bird and just as free;

For the Spirit has control,

Jesus satisfies my soul,

Since the Comforter abides with me. Amen.

DIVINE DISRUPTION

“I will even make a road in the wilderness And rivers in the desert,” says Isaiah 43:19 (NKJV)

Disruption means disturbance or problems interrupting an event, activity, or process. If you are like me, you also do not like disruptions. I find disruptions annoying, mainly when they occur unannounced. Disruptions are the last thing I need after spending a tremendous amount of time, energy, and prayers on something I am passionately bought into. I wouldn’t even say that I like them when they appear during less significant moments, like while I am writing a paper, reading a book, cooking food, drinking coffee, or watching Efren “Bata” Reyes playing billiards on YouTube. Of course, there are moments when I feel okay to drop or pause what I am doing to accommodate a disruption that seems to really need my attention, but generally, disruptions are not a welcome sight for me.

But what about divine disruption? Have you had an experience with this so-called ‘divine disruption’ ever? Is there such a thing?

Indeed, there is! We find some examples of divine disruption in the Scriptures. My favorite Bible story is the conversion of Paul the Apostle, recorded in the Book of Acts, chapter 9, verses 1-9. To make the long story short, Paul’s mission at the time was to murder the disciples of the Lord. God interrupted his plan and disrupted his life. God turned around his life, leading to his conversion from being the number one enemy of Christ’s followers to becoming the number one ally of the Christian movement. Paul was a former murderer of Christians who was then murdered by forces against Christianity because of his faith and love in Christ Jesus.

How does Paul’s conversion story inform you about divine disruption? What did you learn from this story about your attitude toward divine disruption? Is divine disruption like Paul’s a spiritual encounter with God that you would embrace and welcome in your life? In Paul’s experience, his encounter with Divine Disruption makes him strongly connected with God and God’s love and purpose for him.

How does divine disruption connect you to God’s love? Can you see God’s salvific plan and transformative power amid divine disruption? Paul’s encounter with the divine disruption was the beginning of a new pathway for an incredible journey. It could also happen to you if you open yourself to God’s intervention and follow God’s directions for your life.

May you find a space in your heart, opening and welcoming divine disruption in the noisiness, busyness, and conflicting voices around you. Ask God to open your heart and set it on fire. Trusting that everything works together for good for those who love God, this divine disruption you are going through could be your gateway to lasting transformation. In this new beginning, you see God leading you and partnering with you in making “a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Paul discovered a new roadmap toward pursuing a great purpose in life because he embraced fully and faithfully God’s divine disruption. Would you be open to welcoming divine disruption and becoming a faithful follower of God?

Prayer Song:

He leadeth me: O blessed thought!
O words with heavenly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where’er I be,
still ’tis God’s hand that leadeth me.

Refrain:
He leadeth me, he leadeth me,
by his own hand he leadeth me;
his faithful follower I would be,
for by his hand he leadeth me.

Sometimes mid scenes of deepest gloom,
sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom,
by waters still, o’er troubled sea,
still ’tis his hand that leadeth me. Amen.

Text: Joseph H. Gilmore, 1834-1918
Music: William B. Bradbury, 1816-1868

GIVE IT A TRY

“and find out what pleases the Lord,” says Ephesians 5:10, NIV.


Have you played or even tried to play a musical instrument? If you still have not, please give it a try. What would it take to make you pick up a musical instrument, like a clarinet, and learn to play music with it?

In my case, I learned to play clarinet when I was in elementary school, not out of fun and convenience nor by my choosing but out of necessity and something I had to do. In the beginning, I remember strongly resisting my clarinet teaching lessons with my “Tatay” – a Filipino term for Dad.  My dad was a clarinet player, one of the best clarinet players in his marching band at the University and in the town’s band, St. Peter Band and Banda Pula – Original – his family-owned bands. That’s enough to intimidate a young boy, plus the fact that it was not my idea to pick up lessons to learn to play clarinet in the first place.

I admire my dad’s determination to teach me, and his patience bore fruit in me beyond my expectations. By playing clarinet, my high school and college studies were free because of my scholarship as a member of the school’s marching band. I also did not have to pay for a new clarinet because I was able to use my dad’s. Even more, I passed on these skills and talents to my daughter, Kiyah, who also turned out to be a good clarinet player in school.

What if I didn’t cooperate with my dad? What if I allowed my fear to stop me from doing what my dad knows is best for me? What if I didn’t use the skills and talent I learned well and dropped it like a hot potato on the ground? What would I have missed if I had ignored a new opportunity to learn something that helped me achieve a bright future?

How about in your case? Is there something in front of you that, if you choose to pick it up, might bring joy and success in your life, now and in the future? Is it a career choice? Love life? Or, a sport to play or a movie to watch? Is it something that scares you, and what should you do to overcome your fear? Are you asking, what if it didn’t work in my favor? Just think about this for a moment – could you give it a try? Remember, as the saying goes, “There is no harm in trying.” Who knows if that could be it that would bless you and what pleases the Lord, our God.

May you find the courage to pick up what’s in front of you. Believe in yourself and trust in God to bless you with wisdom and courage to use it to favor yourself, your family, and the world.

Prayer Song:

Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee;
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.

Take my will, and make it Thine;
It shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart; it is Thine own;
It shall be Thy royal throne,
It shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love; my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure-store.
Take myself, and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee,
Ever, only, all for Thee. Amen.

BREAKTHROUGH

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” says in Genesis 1:1, NIV

Have you recently experienced a significant advance in life?

Wordscapes is a word puzzle video game where you unscramble letters to create words. Accordingly, “as of 2020, over 14 million people have played,” including me and my wife. Typically, I find myself playing this game before going to bed at night. I’m unsure if that’s the right time to play a word puzzle. It works for me. Humbly speaking, I am now on Level 1354, and at this stage, the levels are now either Super or Extremely Hard. Expectedly, some words are so difficult to put together that they seem almost impossible to unscramble, which can be very frustrating. My last resort is to Google the letters to help me put that word together so I can move on to the next level, which is technically cheating. Without using this trick, which in my case seldom happens anyway, I am usually good at completing the puzzle. I admit that it takes a while to finish a level when words in the puzzle are extremely difficult. Believe me, friends, it feels so good when I hit that breakthrough to advance to the next level.

How about in real life? There are moments in life where it feels like we are living in a puzzle. Things do not make any sense, and if it does, it requires a lot of time, energy, and resource to make it work. I call it a “life puzzle.” Are you in the middle of a life puzzle? In your career or family relationship, are options to move forward limited? What do you do to discover your pathway to progress? To free yourself from whatever is stopping you from moving on, who do you seek for help? What disciplines do you observe to strengthen your stamina to stay on top of your game?

Sterling Hawkins, in his book Hunting Discomfort: How to Get Breakthrough Results in Life and Business No Matter What writes, “When you’re stuck — in one area or in every area — it really is just an inaccurate view of reality…that place of stickiness isn’t a sign that you’re trapped; it’s a sign that it’s time to make a change.” What change are you willing to make to get the right perspective and make the right move to breakthrough? I suggest you go back to previous successes or breakthroughs you experienced that might give you an accurate view of life. How does it feel to achieve success or accomplish major tasks? Do you still remember that feeling of gratification and self-worth? Aside from yourself, to whom do you share your joy and gratitude for your breakthrough?

May you find your breakthrough today and in the days ahead.

Prayer Song:

Songwriters: Jay Stocker / Korey Miller / Jake Epsy

Breaks strongholds, King of Heaven
When You speak, mountains move
I believe there will be breakthrough
There will be breakthrough
There will be breakthrough
I know, I know, I know
There will be breakthrough, yeah

I know You are moving now, God
I know You are healing now, God
You are moving, You are healing, You are speaking
There will be victory, there will be victory
I know, I know, I know yeah. Amen.

JESUS IS EVERYONE

“Abide in me as I abide in you,” says in John 15:4 (NRSVUE)

I love Vacation Bible School. As a young boy, I attended VBS with other kids from my small neighborhood, and that was one of the first places I felt the love of God as we spent time together reading the Bible, singing Christian songs, playing games, and sharing food and drinks as part of the VBS program. For kids, VBS is a wonderful activity to do during the vacation period from school.

Today was the last day of VBS for my four-year-old granddaughter. They spent five days this week learning about Jesus. When you ask my granddaughter Eliana about what they have learned about Jesus this week, she will tell you this: Monday, we learned that Jesus is Holy. Tuesday, we learned that Jesus is Trustworthy. Wednesday, we learned that Jesus is Forgiving. Thursday, we learned that Jesus is Worth Trusting. Friday, that is today, we learned that Jesus is for Everyone. Eliana was very excited to share with me the lessons she learned about Jesus at VBS. Her excitement to not only learn about Jesus but also to share the things she’s learned, especially at her young age, really warms my heart.

There is more to this. While walking her out of the church building, she called me Lolo (a Tagalog term for grandpa), and said, “Lolo, Jesus is everyone.” My response was, “Eliana, did you say Jesus is everyone?” “Yes, I did,” she replied. And I smiled at her and told my granddaughter, “Eliana, you are correct!” We ended this short conversation by buying mini M&M shakes at the nearby Sonic drive-in.

This thought about “Jesus is everyone” still lingers in my mind, which is why I am writing this reflection. Is Jesus everyone? Let me think through this with some things that I know about Jesus. For example, I believe that Jesus is the beloved child of God. If Jesus is everyone, I should also say that every person is a beloved child of God. I also believe that Jesus loves all little children regardless of where they come from or no matter what the color of their skin is. If Jesus is everyone, I should also show love to all children in the world. Can you think of another example where you can claim that Jesus is everyone?

If Jesus is everyone, what is the role and responsibility of the church to make this teaching about Jesus become real and true in the lives of all God’s children? Isn’t it true that the church exists to help every person become holy, trustworthy, and forgiving, and asks us to live for everyone?

Eliana’s statement that “Jesus is everyone” is a reminder of Jesus’ teaching in the Gospel of John, chapter 15, verses 4-5 and 11 that says, Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothingI have said these things to you so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.” Can you imagine a world where every person is like Jesus? Don’t you wish to live in a world where every person abides and bears fruit because of their connection with Jesus? Isn’t the ultimate fruit of being a disciple of Jesus to live like Jesus? Are you abiding with Jesus and living your life like Jesus?

Prayer Song:

Jesus is in me, and Jesus is in you

Jesus is in us, and He loves us

Jesus is in me, and Jesus is in you

Jesus is in us, for He loves us

SOooh… Therefore

We should be one

Come one another

As He has done

Oooh… Therefore

We should be one

Come one another

As He has done. Amen.