Posted in Generosity, Healing Sickness, Lessons Learned from Sickness

The Mysterious Generosity of the Raven

Lessons Learned from My Sickness Part 12: The Mysterious Generosity of the Raven

generosity

In part 7 of these lessons, I have shared with you the creation of God’s Wallet which served as concrete proof of God’s sufficient grace – that in times of our greatest need – God never fails to send us his compassion and support.

A theological insight my sister Gina shared made us more hopeful in committing ourselves to God through this God’s wallet, for it’s up to his will and power (not on our own capacity) where to get resources for my treatment.

She referred our attention to the story in I Kings 17:1-6, the story of Elijah and the ravens.

According to her, ravens (they are similar with our crows in appearance and characteristics) by nature are selfish and cruel. Mother ravens were known to abandon their newly hatched chicks and left them to survive by themselves.

In the story of Noah, the raven was the first bird to be released to see if there’s any dry land where the ark can settle. But the raven just kept on flying back and forth and didn’t enter the ark.

This was because the raven was seeking carcass of dead creatures and wanted to gorge itself without thinking about the welfare of other animals inside the ark.

In other words, you can’t expect generosity, service, and concern from a raven.

And yet, in Elijah’s case, he was fed by ravens who brought him bread and meat every morning and evening. Here we find the “mysterious generosity of the ravens”.

Reflecting on it theologically, my sister confidently declared that God can touch the heart of people and WILL be able to make their heart generous!

In other words, God can generate resources that we need through His power – by His touch.

Even a selfish raven can be generous – when God touches him/her and make him/her a channel of blessing!

Posted on FB: 6 March 2015 – 9:55 PM

Jaro Evangelical Church

About the Author

Rev. Ronny Luces is the Minister for Administration and Community Service of Jaro Evangelical Church (JEC), Iloilo City, Philipines. He and wife, Martha have been with JEC’s ministry since 1994.

Pastor Ronny graduated from Central Philippine University College of Theology in 1985 and was pastor of several Baptist churches.

In January 2015, after tests and two long hospital confinements, Pastor Ronny got the word he has lung cancer. He is undergoing chemotherapy.

Praying for healing and going through all the medical processes, Pastor Ronny writes his reflections “Lessons Learned from My Sickness”.

May Pastor Ronny’s series of reflections and meditations strengthen your hope and faith as you go through your own life’s battles. Please pray for Pastor Ronny’s healing.

PHOTO CREDIT: Monkey Boy via Flickr Creative Commons License

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Posted in Healing Sickness, Lessons Learned from Sickness, Overcoming Trials

Stepping Inside Job’s Shoes

Lessons Learned from My Sickness Part 11: Stepping Inside Job’s Shoes

Our family is very grateful that trials coming our way made us closer to each other and made our faith stronger in the Lord.
Our family is very grateful that trials coming our way made us closer to each other and made our faith stronger in the Lord.

Gina, one of my younger sisters, greatly comforted me when the doctor revealed to me my sickness.

She’s a school teacher at Sum-ag, Bacolod City at present.

Many years ago, she encountered a very severe trial.

Her husband was run-over by an 18 wheeler truck resulting in his sudden death. She became a very young widow with 3 very young children.

How did she cope with the tragedy? She stepped inside Job’s shoes.

This is her testimony of God’s goodness, which also comforted and strengthened me. What does “stepping inside Job’s shoes” entail?

  1. Being aware that God has chosen you to be tested. Have you seen my servant Job? Test him. God is mighty proud of Job. If you are under severe trial, God is making you his showcase.
  2. Being aware that God is highly confident that like Job, we can surpass these tests. God is very sure of Job’s faith, that he will not waver while facing trials.
  3. Being aware that God is right there at Job’s side monitoring the whole thing. God didn’t abandon Job.
  4. Being aware that God did strengthen Job and greatly blessed and rewarded him after he has passed the test!

These convictions strengthened Gina’s resolve to overcome her fiery trials.

She declared, “I will not only pass these tests. I will pass these tests with flying colors!”

Our family is very grateful that trials coming our way made us closer to each other and made our faith stronger in the Lord. Good day everyone!

Posted on FB: 6 March 2015 – 12:42 PM

Jaro Evangelical Church

About the Author

Rev. Ronny Luces was the Minister for Administration and Community Service of Jaro Evangelical Church (JEC), Iloilo City, Philipines. He, his wife, Martha and daughter, Ronamae have been with JEC’s ministry since 1994.

Pastor Ronny graduated from Central Philippine University College of Theology in 1985 and was pastor of several Baptist churches.

In January 2015, after tests and two long hospital confinements, Pastor Ronny got the word he had lung cancer. He underwent chemotherapy.

Praying for healing and going through all the medical processes, Pastor Ronny started writing his reflections “Lessons Learned from My Sickness.”

On 9 July 2015, Pastor Ronny rested his earthly life.

May Pastor Ronny’s series of reflections and meditations strengthen your hope and faith as you go through your own life’s battles.

Posted in Healing Sickness, Lessons Learned from Sickness, Praying Together

Family that Prays Together, Stays Together

Lessons Learned from My Sickness Part 10: Family that Prays Together, Stays Together

praying together to stay together

If there’s an image of childhood which remained as a lasting imprint on what I remembered about our family, it’s the family altar.

Tatay and Nanay gathering ten of us children in a corner of our house to read the scriptures, and contribute a statement or two on what we need for God to grant us.

This was a nightly affair which we continue to carry in each of our individual families to which we have settled now.

This strong family prayer life sustains each one of us even when we are already separated by distance and geography.

For instance, my youngest sister Lucy who’s working as a nurse in California always makes it a point to communicate every day with me, our mother and her other siblings, especially in my sickness.

Her generosity knows no bounds and her sacrificial love knows no obstacles. According to her, she was blessed by God so that she can be a blessing to many of us as well.

I’m grateful to God for giving us our family. We stayed together because we are bounded by that strong cord of unity – to pray as a family.

You want to strengthen your family? You can do that by gathering under the altar of prayer.

Posted on FB: 5 March 2015 – 5:11 PM

Jaro Evangelical Church

About the Author

Rev. Ronny Luces was the Minister for Administration and Community Service of Jaro Evangelical Church (JEC), Iloilo City, Philipines. He, his wife, Martha and daughter, Ronamae have been with JEC’s ministry since 1994.

Pastor Ronny graduated from Central Philippine University College of Theology in 1985 and was pastor of several Baptist churches.

In January 2015, after tests and two long hospital confinements, Pastor Ronny got the word he had lung cancer. He underwent chemotherapy.

Praying for healing and going through all the medical processes, Pastor Ronny started writing his reflections “Lessons Learned from My Sickness.”

On 9 July 2015, Pastor Ronny rested his earthly life.

May Pastor Ronny’s series of reflections and meditations strengthen your hope and faith as you go through your own life’s battles.

Posted in Healing Sickness, Lessons Learned from Sickness, Love, Marriage Covenant

In Sickness or in Health

Lessons Learned from My Sickness Part 9: In Sickness or in Health

Rhonzy Maellen (daughter), Martha Mae (wife) and Ronny
Rhonzy Maellen (daughter), Martha Mae (wife) and Ronny

I’ve solemnized marriage ceremonies of many couples.

In fact, I have already lost count how many I had pronounced as husbands and wives to be united in holy matrimony.

But there’s never an instant in which I forgot to include in their wedding vows this statement – do you promise to remain faithful, to love, comfort and honor your spouse, from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in SICKNESS or in health…?

And all of them said, I DO!

I’ve made the same vows myself with Mam Martha (we will celebrate our 25th anniversary this coming July 2015).

I discovered the true essence, meaning, and application of this vow in my sickness!

Without Mam Martha’s presence by my side, sacrificial service, in-depth affirmation of love and earnest prayers, I could have succumbed to hopelessness.

I was very vulnerable to negative emotions like fear, uncertainty, and confusion.

It was easy to issue denials, blames and complaints if only to ease my mind of these negative vibrations.

Mam Martha ensured that in sickness, our vows would be strengthened, our relationship would be closer, our love for each other more meaningful, visible and pure.

I get stronger every day because of Mam Martha’s consistent affirmation of our marriage covenant.

She’s there for me, in the moments I certainly need her.

I thank the Lord for giving me Mam Martha!

Posted on FB: 5 March 2015 – 4:24 PM

Jaro Evangelical Church

About the Author

Rev. Ronny Luces was the Minister for Administration and Community Service of Jaro Evangelical Church (JEC), Iloilo City, Philipines. He, his wife, Martha and daughter, Ronamae have been with JEC’s ministry since 1994.

Pastor Ronny graduated from Central Philippine University College of Theology in 1985 and was pastor of several Baptist churches.

In January 2015, after tests and two long hospital confinements, Pastor Ronny got the word he had lung cancer. He underwent chemotherapy.

Praying for healing and going through all the medical processes, Pastor Ronny started writing his reflections “Lessons Learned from My Sickness.”

On 9 July 2015, Pastor Ronny rested his earthly life.

May Pastor Ronny’s series of reflections and meditations strengthen your hope and faith as you go through your own life’s battles.

Posted in Each New Day, Healing Sickness, Lessons Learned from Sickness

Live One Day at a Time

Lessons Learned from My Sickness Part 8: Live One Day at a Time

Ronny Luces reflections
God’s mercies are new every morning

In the past, I used to look at this statement as only a cliche or an often repeated slogan.

My point of view which I held for so long was to look at life in its strategic or long-term perspective.

I used to lead many associations, groups, church congregations, community-based people’s organizations in formulating strategic plans and identifying long-term targets and goals.

I am not comfortable with looking at life as only a daily experience.

For me, the proper way of facing life’s challenges and appreciating it’s myriad and mysterious potentials was to be forward-looking, always thinking about tomorrow, and bracing myself for the future.

My sickness brought me down to reality.

No wonder, Christ said in Matthew 6:34, Don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.

I discovered that ‘living one day at a time’ is the essence of a meaningful experience. It is not routinary nor it offers only a meaningless repetition.

Each day is NEW. Have you noticed it? There’s nothing yesterday that’s exactly repeated today.

The sun that rises is the same but it shines differently. The chirping of the birds is new, the breeze that gently blows its life-giving oxygen is new, the warm company of loved ones is new.

So learn to appreciate each new day with its many potentials.

Learn to focus on things around you or you will miss many beautiful encounters.

As Lamentation 3:22-23 says, “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassion never fail. They are NEW every morning; great is thy faithfulness.”

Have a blessed day everyone!

Posted on FB: 5 March 2015 – 1:00 PM

Jaro Evangelical Church

About the Author

Rev. Ronny Luces was the Minister for Administration and Community Service of Jaro Evangelical Church (JEC), Iloilo City, Philipines. He, his wife, Martha and daughter, Ronamae have been with JEC’s ministry since 1994.

Pastor Ronny graduated from Central Philippine University College of Theology in 1985 and was pastor of several Baptist churches.

In January 2015, after tests and two long hospital confinements, Pastor Ronny got the word he had lung cancer. He underwent chemotherapy.

Praying for healing and going through all the medical processes, Pastor Ronny started writing his reflections “Lessons Learned from My Sickness.”

On 9 July 2015, Pastor Ronny rested his earthly life.

May Pastor Ronny’s series of reflections and meditations strengthen your hope and faith as you go through your own life’s battles.

Posted in God's Provision, Healing Sickness, Lessons Learned from Sickness

God’s Wallet – The Sufficiency of God’s Provision

Lessons Learned from My Sickness Part 7: God’s Wallet – The Sufficiency of God’s Provision

Faithfulness of God
Indeed, God’s grace is sufficient for our needs!

Honestly, a few questions kept bouncing in my mind during my long days of hospital confinement.

  1. How long will I be made to stay here?
  2. What additional procedures, laboratory tests, medications will be presribed for me?
  3. What will they cost?
  4. Do we have the means and resources to pay the accumulating bills?
  5. What about the next stage of procuring my targeted therapy?

I have asked these questions because one of life’s realities confronting people now is the high cost of health and medical services. To get sick is very very expensive.

In presenting these concerns with Mam Martha, she confidently declared that it’s not something for us to worry about.

She’s holding on to God’s promise and powerful declaration, “My grace is sufficient for you.”

To put our mind at ease, and our faith in action, we earnestly prayed about it and designate an empty wallet as “God’s Wallet”.

There, the Lord showed us his amazing acts and miraculous power.

It was there that love gifts, contributions, envelopes, cheques, remittances from individuals, families, couples, groups, churches, organizations, institutions, alumni batches, friends and acquaintances which keep on coming were put into by Mam Martha.

These resources, which keep on pouring with words of encouragement, prayers of intercessions, and generous acts of mercy were so overwhelming!

Our “God’s wallet” has never been empty ever since. Indeed, God’s grace is sufficient for our needs!

Posted on FB: 4 March 2015 – 2:06 PM

Jaro Evangelical Church

About the Author

Rev. Ronny Luces was the Minister for Administration and Community Service of Jaro Evangelical Church (JEC), Iloilo City, Philipines. He, his wife, Martha and daughter, Ronamae have been with JEC’s ministry since 1994.

Pastor Ronny graduated from Central Philippine University College of Theology in 1985 and was pastor of several Baptist churches.

In January 2015, after tests and two long hospital confinements, Pastor Ronny got the word he had lung cancer. He underwent chemotherapy.

Praying for healing and going through all the medical processes, Pastor Ronny started writing his reflections “Lessons Learned from My Sickness.”

On 9 July 2015, Pastor Ronny rested his earthly life.

May Pastor Ronny’s series of reflections and meditations strengthen your hope and faith as you go through your own life’s battles.

PHOTO CREDIT: Hamnoy – Lofoten, Norway by Karl Hipolito. Used by permission.

Posted in Healing Sickness, Lessons Learned from Sickness, Relationships

Primacy of Relationships

Lessons Learned from My Sickness – Part 6: Primacy of Relationships

Rev. Ronny Luces
Building caring, sharing and endearing relationships is primary.

This is the key to establish empowering and nurturing communities – we must take serious efforts of building strong relationships in our ministry.

St. Paul outlined this key principle in 1 Thess. 1: 8, “We cared for you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.”

Three key words are mentioned here to help guide us in building strong relationships with people.

First, we must know how to care. He/she who sow seeds of compassion and caring will surely reap a harvest of the same compassion and caring.

Second, we must know how to share. This means dispensing concrete acts of generosity and not just offering empty rhetoric.

Finally, we must know how to hold people dear to us. This means being inclusive in the way we relate to people. Holding them dear means being honest, intimate and truthful in our dealings with them.

I believe that building this kind of relationship in our ministry will pave the way for establishing empowering and nurturing communities.

I’m grateful to God for giving me this first hand experience in my ministry. The harvest of caring and compassion that I received are evidences of this truth.

Posted on FB: 4 March 2015 – 12:12 PM

Jaro Evangelical Church

About the Author

Rev. Ronny Luces was the Minister for Administration and Community Service of Jaro Evangelical Church (JEC), Iloilo City, Philipines. He, his wife, Martha and daughter, Ronamae have been with JEC’s ministry since 1994.

Pastor Ronny graduated from Central Philippine University College of Theology in 1985 and was pastor of several Baptist churches.

In January 2015, after tests and two long hospital confinements, Pastor Ronny got the word he had lung cancer. He underwent chemotherapy.

Praying for healing and going through all the medical processes, Pastor Ronny started writing his reflections “Lessons Learned from My Sickness.”

On 9 July 2015, Pastor Ronny rested his earthly life.

May Pastor Ronny’s series of reflections and meditations strengthen your hope and faith as you go through your own life’s battles.