Posted in God's Thoughts and Ways, Lessons Learned from Sickness

Unlikely Answers

Lessons Learned from My Sickness Part 22: Unlikely Answers

God Answers Prayers
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. Isaiah 55:8

Isn’t it true that we all wanted our prayers to be answered?

And isn’t it true that the answers we expected are the answers that we already framed in our minds?

In other words, when we pray for a ganta of rice, we also expect to receive a ganta of rice – not just 2 cupfuls.

Most often, we wanted God to follow what we already formulated in our thoughts.

But God’s ways are not our ways and his thoughts, not our thoughts. I affirmed this truth in my sickness.

I discovered that God was in the business of giving me something which I haven’t asked, but something which was for my own good.

An article I’ve read articulated this truth. It says,

I asked for health that I might do greater things;
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked God for strength that I might achieve;
I was made weak that I might learn to obey.
I asked for riches that I might be happy;
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power and the praise of men;
I was given weakness to sense my need of God.
I asked for all things that i might enjoy life;
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing I asked for, but everything I hoped for;
In spite of myself, my prayers were answered –
I am among all men most richly blessed!

Posted on FB: 13 March 2015 – 2:52 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 God Knows Best, Lessons Learned from Sickness

God Knows Best 2

Lessons Learned from My Sickness – Part 21: God Knows Best 2

God Knows Best
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26

As promised, here are the remaining stanzas of the poem which greatly inspired me, and gave me a positive outlook as I face the challenge of my sickness:

For growing trees are strengthened
When they withstand the storm,
And the sharp cut of a chisel
Gives the marble grace and form.

God never hurts us needlessly,
And he never wastes our pain
For every loss he send to us
Is followed by rich gain.

And when we count our blessings
That God so freely sent
We will find no cause for murmuring
And no time to lament.

For our Father loves his children
And to him all things are plain,
So he never sends us pleasures
When the soul’s deep need is pain.

So whenever we are troubled
And when everything goes wrong,
It is just God working in us
To make our spirits strong!

Posted on FB: 12 March 2015 – 6:47 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: House Sparrows by Jose Telesforo Limbaga. Used with permission. The photo has been resized to fit website requirement.

Posted in God Knows Best, Lessons Learned from Sickness

God Knows Best

Lessons Learned from My Sickness – Part 20: God Knows Best

God Knows Best
Certainly, God knows what’s best for you!

All of us have our favorite poems, sayings or mottos that bring comfort to our beleaguered souls when times get hard.

I remembered watching a movie about Nelson Mandela and how the poem “Invictus” figured prominently in his life.

When the doctor revealed to me the devastating news about my sickness, the words of a certain poem also rang true in my heart.

It brought me peace of mind and a calm understanding of what I’m going through from the perspective of someone who has fully surrendered herself to God’s power and will.

The title of the poem is “God Knows Best” and it was written by Helen Steiner Rice.

I would like to share the first three stanzas of the poem to you, my dear readers:

Our Father knows what’s best for us
So why should we complain –
We always want the sunshine,
But He knows there must be rain.

We love the sound of laughter
And the merriment of cheer,
But our hearts would lose their tenderness
If we never shed a tear.

Our Father tests us often
With suffering and with sorrow,
He tests us, not to punish us
But to help us meet tomorrow.

If you are undergoing some very terrible experiences right now, just commit yourselves to God and His ultimate power.

Certainly, God knows what’s best for you!

I will share the next lines of the poem on my next lessons. Good day everyone.

Posted on FB: 12 March 2015 – 2:15 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 Lessons Learned from Sickness, Sensitivity

Sensitivity – Important Caring Ingredient

Lessons Learned from My Sickness – Part 19: Sensitivity

peace and quiet place
Peace and quiet bring healing to the body and mind.

This word, according to the dictionary means – the awareness and understanding of needs or feelings of others; the ability to respond to perceived inadequacies; the strength of physical and emotional reaction.

The opposite of sensitivity is apathy, numbness, unresponsive, unfeeling and hard-heartedness.

To be called “sensitive” is to be able to have a positive description.

Many favorable things happened in the lives of people because actions made by sensitive persons had helped solve their problems or eased the burdens they were carrying.

I owe a great debt of gratitude to many people whose sensitivity eased my pain, answered my needs and brought me joy.

The day after my release from hospital confinement was the Jaro fiesta. For those unfamiliar with the event, it means that traffic is closed, streets are filled with all kinds of vendors, noise and dirt pollution proliferates.

For us living in the central part of the district (near the Jaro plaza), it means being vulnerable to 24-hour noise, smoke and dirt pollution, and difficulty of transportation.

Being newly released from the hospital I still suffer from shortness of breathe and have difficulty in my physical movements.

The question which occupied my mind in anticipation of the fiesta was, “How can my body rest in the middle of such discomfort?”

Without my knowing it, sensitive members of Jaro Evangelical Church had already prepared for such an eventuality.

They had already made a reservation in a nearby beach resort to have a cottage to accommodate me and my family for two days so that we can avoid the inconveniences of the fiesta celebration!

The sensitivity of these concerned church members enabled them to plan in advance what to do during my time of need.

How wonderful to have Christian brothers and sisters like them!

I praise God for giving us sensitive members in the family of faith!

Posted on FB: 11 March 2015 – 2:56 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: Boracay by Karl Hipolito; used with permission.

Posted in Lessons Learned from Sickness, Living in Faith

Faith Challenge Accepted

Lessons Learned from My Sickness – Part 18: Faith Challenge Accepted

walk your talk

“Pastor, I challenge you. Live what you preach!”

These strong words were passionately spoken by my doctor, right after he revealed to me my sickness.

To make his statement more emphatic, he looked at me straight in the eyes with fingers pointing firmly to me.

This strongly-worded admonition was used by God to make me courageous in facing my trials and to make me fully dependent on Him.

Without this frank and brave reminder from my doctor, I could have adopted a weak and defeatist attitude in facing my situation.

You see, when the doctor told me what I have to go through to confront my sickness, what possible treatments I can explore, what tests I should undergo, what opportunities are open for me if I am just courageous enough to face them, I replied rather unconvincingly, “What if I just wait for what will happen to me Doc”?

That earned my doctor’s ire. For him, to adopt a passive or negative attitude in the light of what I’m facing is an expression of faithlessness and it’s not the kind of response he expected from a pastor like me.

That’s why he stood up, with his fingers firmly pointed to me and said, “Pastor, I challenge you. Live what you preach”.

His words hit me very strongly. It was like God was using him to directly speak to me.

I realized indeed, he’s right.

I used to preach about courage in the face of perplexities, strong faith in the midst of adversities, and being open to God’s revelation in the midst of confusion and doubt.

Why then should I adopt a lethargic and pathetic attitude?

I was greatly humbled and brought to reality by that experience.

That’s why I assured my doctor, “Yes, Doc. With God by my side, I accept the challenge”.

I thanked the Lord that he has spoken his words of encouragement through my doctor.

Posted on FB: 10 March 2015 – 7:34 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.

Posted in Lessons Learned from Sickness, Love

“With this Ring”

Lessons Learned from My Sickness Part 17: “With this Ring”

With this ring

Open your hands. Look at your ring finger. Is your wedding ring still there?

In my long hospital confinement, my wedding ring caused me some uncomfortable and embarrassing moments. My ring finger has grown bigger that my wedding ring can no longer be removed.

That is why every time I went to the OR, CT-Scan room and even x-rays, I have to explain to the people tasked to prepare me, my predicament – my ring can’t be removed.

They have to cover my ring finger with adhesive tapes so that my ring (or anything it represents) will not interfere with my medical procedures.

And so it came to pass that when I was released from confinement, the first thing that Mam Martha asked me to do was to look for ways for that ring to be removed.

It’s good that we have a church member who knew some jewelers familiar with the task of cutting and re-sizing a ring to make it just like new.

That explains why, after my hospital confinement, I’ve got a “new” wedding ring – fitted well, with its freshly printed inscription – Martha Mae, July 8, 1990 (the date of our wedding).

With this ring, I continue to pledge with her my matrimonial vow of a loving marriage.

Posted on FB: 9 March 2015 – 9:10 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 Lessons Learned from Sickness, Sharing and Caring

“What Do You Want to Eat? I’ll Cook It for You”

Lessons Learned from My Sickness Part 16: “What Do You Want to Eat? I’ll Cook It for You”

healing of Ronny Luces
I am glad that this generous practice of food serving is being revived in the life of people in the church.

One good memory I have of childhood in my coastal neighborhood is the picture of people gladly exchanging plates of food.

A neighbor knocking on your door and offering you his freshly cooked ‘ginat-an nga dagmay‘ (taro in coconut milk) was a daily occurrence.

To show him your gratitude, you also put ‘apan-apan‘ (water spinach) in his plate with 3 pieces of ‘bukayo‘ (coconut candy) for his children.

Alas, this healthy exchange of goodwill and foodstuff gradually faded, which the younger generation no longer witnessed.

I am glad that this generous practice of food serving is being revived in the life of people in the church.

During potluck dinners, fellowship gatherings, thanksgiving services, family celebrations, people bringing foodstuff to be shared and enjoyed is a sight to behold.

I believe that this practice is not only a cultural expression to proclaim to all and sundry our Bayanihan identity, but it is to me a manifestation of the nature of our Christian faith and spiritual identity.

In the scriptures, Christ always shared food with the people. He even commanded his disciples who were facing 5000 people, “You give them something to eat” (Luke 9:13).

My long hospital confinement was not all filled with difficult or heavy experiences like pain, boredom, anxiety, stress, but also memorable experiences of joy, sharing and fellowship.

These joyful experiences were usually ushered in by phone calls I frequently receive, “Pastor, what do you want to eat? I’ll cook it for you”.

Posted on FB: 9 March 2015 – 12:44 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: Dennis Miyashiro via Flickr Creative Commons License. The photo has been cropped and re-sized to fit website requirement.