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.

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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.

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.

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.