Posted in Lessons Learned from Sickness, Women of God

Faithful, Generous, Prayerful Women of God

Lessons Learned from My Sickness Part 29: Women

generous faithful loving women of God

I have a few women in my life, but that does not mean I’m a womanizer.

First, there’s my mother who gave me life. Next, there’s my wife, who gave meaning to my life. And then our daughter who gave purpose to my meaningful life.

My life is being strengthened and sustained by the love of these women.

Aside from them, God gave me the strong support of JEC women in my ministry since I was called as pastor in 2003. They always accompanied and supported me during outreach services, vigil services, shut-in visits, and when there were invitations extended to me outside the city.

Their active presence and support through prayers, choir songs, generous contributions, add blessings to the many engagements we have participated in many areas of ministries of the church.

Reading Luke 8: 1-3, I’m glad to know that Jesus had the same circle of support from faithful, generous and prayerful women.

Aside from disciples like Peter, James, John, Matthew, etc. there were also women like Mary, Joanna and Susanna who supported Christ’s ministry out of their own means.

I thought that all these would come to an abrupt end when I was diagnosed with my sickness.

I have to resign my post as pastor of the church since I am already weak to carry my responsibilities. I can no longer preach, led bible studies, conduct home visitations, led vigil services, make lectures and seminars, do counseling sessions and other pastoral duties.

During my long hospital confinement, I have to explain these facts to these JEC women – that I can no longer spent time with them since I’ll be confined to my living quarters for my treatment and convalescence.

But these women have a totally different plan and would not be limited by that. When I was released from confinement, they became my regular visitors to bring me foodstuff and pray for me.

They also accompanied me and my family in our walking exercise at Fort San Pedro, in my doctor’s consultation and even to perform some errands.

They also took me and my family out for special lunch or dinners so that our fellowship will continue and I will not be deprived of these kind of celebrations!

Yesterday, eight of them treated Mam Martha and I to a sumptuous lunch at Tatoy’s.

I’m thankful to God for these faithful, generous and prayerful JEC women!

Posted on FB: 22 March 2015 – 12:34 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.

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Posted in Lessons Learned from Sickness, Sharing and Caring

The Language of Silence

Lessons Learned from My Sickness Part 28: The Language of Silence

Lessons Learned from Sickness

It is customary for people to make or create a noise when emphasizing something. New business or products are introduced by loud public announcements, accompanied with drum beats, full volume music, street parades, caravans, fireworks, etc.

It seems that people are convinced of the products’ effectivity by the loudness of its propaganda or advertisement. The louder the noise, the popular the business.

Silence is perceived as a weakness or a show of insignificance. But is it?

My sickness has introduced me to the world of silence – by force.

In other words, I was forced to be silent, otherwise I will suffer a state of incessant coughing if I continue talking.

It took me quite a while to adjust to this condition.

You see, as a Pastor, my job was to speak, and not just speak, but to speak loudly. I was not used to just sit in a corner and be silent.

But my sickness made me discover the virtue of silence. I discovered that it’s also a means which I can still communicate with others.

I discovered that I can listen more while others are talking, and I can fully internalized what they felt. I discovered that I’m more sensitive to the feelings of others.

Not only that. I also discovered that I have plenty of time to think more deeply, analyze things more broadly, and in so doing, learn quite a lot of things more frequently.

I have more time for personal devotions and to read the scriptures. I have plenty of opportunities to pray for many people in my prayers of intercessions. I have more time to reflect and write my reflections.

What I missed doing when my faculty of speech was still intact I learned to value and maximize in my world of silence.

Posted on FB: 20 March 2015 – 4:39 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.

Posted in Community, Lessons Learned from Sickness

Reverse Isolation

Lessons Learned from My Sickness Part 27: Reverse Isolation

lessons learned from sickness

I confess there were lots of things that I didn’t like during my hospitalization.

Foremost is the cost. I found out that it’s really very expensive to get sick.

It’s no wonder why many people who need immediate medical attention, just preferred to stay at home and learn to maximize the use of alternative or herbal medicines.

I even read of a joke about a patient who was already healed of his heart ailment and was given the go-signal to be released after his long confinement. But he died of cardiac arrest when he saw his hospital bills!

I certainly hope that it’s really a joke and not a true story.

Next that I dislike is the pain and discomfort related to or resulting from my treatment. But I have come to accept them, since I knew that they were a significant part of my healing.

But there’s still another thing that I didn’t like – no matter how this doctrine was explained to me.

They called this Reverse Isolation.

According to this phenomenon, I can’t accept visitors in my hospital room because they might have colds, cough or flu, and their virus may affect me.

While I understand that this was a valid way of safeguarding my already feeble health, I find it difficult to just accept it.

That is why there were some instances that I struggled against the insistence of people looking after me, to allow people especially those who came from far away places to enter my room and pray for me.

I really sympathized with those people who came from churches that I previously served as pastor. I knew that they came from remote communities.

They traveled long distances, and spent their hard earned money for transportation just to show their love and affection to their former pastor.

In a way I’m grateful that my requests for exemptions such as these were also granted by my guardians.

Isolation is never a good thing for me because I just don’t want to be alone.

Posted on FB: 19 March 2015 – 7:18 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.

Posted in Each New Day, From Worry To Glory, Lessons Learned from Sickness

One Fine Day

Lessons Learned from My Sickness Part 26: One Fine Day

Castlepoint Lighthouse at Wairarapa NZ
One fine day with God at Castlepoint Lighthouse, Wairarapa NZ. Photo by Jade Mark Jarbadan

How do you define a fine day? Perhaps to many of us, a fine day is a day that is devoid of any problems, burdens or cares.

Everything you encountered provides you joy, blessings, entertainment, and gives you a sense of fulfillment or accomplishment. That’s why people who encountered such kind of day blurts with excitement, “You have made my day!”

One of the most common greetings I heard from people who came to visit me was, “How’s your day?”

I’m grateful that they are so concerned about my situation and that they would like to know whether I still find joy, meaning, hope and peace in that particular day.

My ready answer to that is of course, “I have a fine day! Or, “My day is fine!” This is because I do not look at the negative circumstances surrounding me on a particular day in order to make my judgment, but I focus on God’s goodness and grace which enables me to appreciate the new day that God gave me.

The fact that I still woke up to a new day is already a great reason for me to say that my day is fine!

Proverbs 11: 27 says, “He who seeks good finds goodwill, but evil comes to him who searches for it.”

In other words, we will be able to define our day as a fine day by looking at all the positive things that God gave us and learn to celebrate that day by affirming God’s goodness and faithfulness.

But if we focus our attention to all the negative, hard, evil aspects of the day then that’s how we will also perceive our day – negative, hard and evil.

Ever since I discovered this verse, I learned to focus on searching the good things that God prepared for me on that particular day.

For what you seek, you will find! Have a fine day everyone!

Posted on FB: 18 March 2015 – 8:41 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.

Posted in Forgiveness, Lessons Learned from Sickness

Scars of Forgiveness

Lessons Learned from My Sickness Part 25: Scars

Jesus Christ at the cross

I came across this fascinating theological riddle many years back, “What man-made thing is now in heaven”?

And the answer is – the SCARS in Jesus’ hands, feet and side.

Those bodily scars were created by nails and the centurion’s spear during Christ’s crucifixion.

Those marks were sought by Thomas as proof of Christ ‘s resurrection (John 20:25 – “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe it.”).

Thereupon, when Christ saw him a week later, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” And Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:26-28)

I remembered this riddle fairly recently when I took a bath and saw the scar at my side. It was the scar that resulted from a CTT tube insertion administered to drain fluids from my lungs.

When I looked at that scar, I was reminded of its significance. Without such wound, the doctor couldn’t have performed the pleurodesis procedure and I couldn’t have returned to my normal breathing pattern.

That wound has been a step towards my healing. That wound is necessary for me to be treated.

The scar resulting from that wound serves as proof that we have exhausted all means to treat my bodily problem.

Reflecting on this theologically, I am reminded of my own sinfulness, and of my deep gratitude to God for giving us his son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins.

In Isaiah 53: 5 it says, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and BY HIS WOUNDS WE ARE HEALED.

Without the scars in Jesus body, we are still on our way to perdition. But thanks be to God, we were forgiven!

Posted on FB: 17 March 2015 – 1:37 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.

Posted in From Worry To Glory, Lessons Learned from Sickness, Trust and Obey

Trust and Obey

Lessons Learned from My Sickness Part 24: Trust and Obey

trust and obey
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2

This is the title of one of the most popular and timeless hymns sang by Christians the world over.

How many people were brought to the saving knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ because of this hymn?

How many lives were changed for the better because of the enlightening and inspiring message of the song?

We really can’t tell. But I’m sure many people were able to gain favorable results in their lives by adhering to the challenges the song poses.

During my long hospital confinement, I was greatly helped by the encouragement I received from this hymn. When I faced uncertainties and lingering doubts, I just told myself, “Just trust and obey”.

Instead of spending time in worrying, instead of asking too many questions, instead of formulating my own theories and explanations, I just told myself, “Just trust and obey”.

Just trust that God knows what’s best for us. Just trust that he is sovereign, his power knows no bounds, and he will work miraculously through people that he touched.

That he can work through the doctors, surgeons, nurses, laboratory personnel, etc. That his power can be manifested through medications and treatments administered to our physical body.

But more importantly, I trust that God listened to the sincere prayers of the faithful who continue to humbly ask for his intercession and compassion.

As a result, I discovered that when I fully trust God in all these things, I can obey everything that the doctors prescribed for my own good.

I obeyed the dietary requirements, I obeyed the prescribed rest and exercise schedule. I obeyed the sanitary procedures like wearing masks even though it’s inconvenient at times.

Indeed, to trust and obey are two very powerful virtues that can strengthen our relationship with the Lord, and can also help us in facing our practical problems.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way, to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Posted on FB: 16 March 2015 – 2:41 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: Karl Hipolito. Used with permission. Thank you.

Posted in Lessons Learned from Sickness, Mother's Love and Wisdom

A Mother’s Love and Wisdom

Lessons Learned from My Sickness Part 23: A Mother’s Love and Wisdom

Mother's Wisdom and Love
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30

My 81-year-old mother came to visit me today (Saturday, March 14, 2015). I would like to dedicate this lesson to her, by recalling her text message the day she knew about my sickness.

She said, “Noy, we should be glad that this trial has visited our family and you were chosen to be its bearer. For it means that we were made partakers of this suffering. This trial will enable us to be stronger in our faith and we will be more closer to each other and with the Lord”.

She then sang a battle hymn to inspire and to encourage me to face my sickness.

I am really thankful to God for giving me a very prayerful, full of godly wisdom, and faithful mother.

You see, she was also in great pain while relaying those words to me. She suffered a leg fracture rendering her immobile since the month of November last year.

In fact, when she came to visit me today, she was physically carried by my brother in a wheelchair.

But that inconvenience did’nt prevent her from coming over just to show me her love and to express her affection.

I am more inspired to face the challenges posed by my sickness because I am being supported by the prayers of my mother.

Posted on FB: 14 March 2015 – 4:06 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.