This post is the last entry for the “2017 Questions” series, where I had intended to provide systematic answers to the relatively relevant questions I happened to encounter last year. I find that reflecting on such simple questions had been helpful on how I can view life and assess what I truly believe through introspection.
Every end of the year, our bible study group “Manly Dominion” gathers in the house of the elder who leads it for us to break bread with one another, have fellowship, and sing hymns. In between those activities, it’s also a practice that the pastor asks each member of the group the question “What are you thankful for this year?”. In God’s gracious dealings in providence, here are some of the things I was thankful for the past two years.
1. Steve Lawson’s Seminar – Went to the seminar without any knowledge about the speaker aside from him being “reformed”. Before such visit, I was only expecting a refresher on what I already know and as usual, I couldn’t be more wrong. And so, like a lighting of a match in a dark room, I began to see that there was so much more in the faith I’ve come to embrace than that of what I already know [1 Peter 2:9; Deuteronomy 29:29].
2. Faithful preaching of the Word – Being assigned to Cebu, a friend and I have been attending some churches but was not really committed to any, due to conviction from the truths we’ve come to know. And so, we ended up in Sovereign Grace Bible Church of Cebu where we were able to finally say that this is a people carefully handling the truths of God as disclosed in the Bible [2 Timothy 2:15].
3. Elder’s family example – This particular elder is the husband of the woman who asked me the question “so what changed?”. Seeing their family cheerfully serving the people around them made me see how practical Christian doctrine can be. And so, it gave me a desire to lead a family that will grow in such a manner [1 Corinthians 11:1;1 Timothy 3:1-7].
4. Brethren in Christ – Christian life is never without struggle. Therefore, what a comfort and such a great blessing that we are no isolated pilgrims, but a people designed to bear each other’s burdens. And so, it made me realize how the Lord graciously gave such a company here on earth [1 Corinthians 13; 1 John 4].
5. Membership to a faithful local Church – Being enamored with the beauty of the church, a beauty derived from its faithfulness to Scriptures both in words and deeds by God’s grace, I went through the process of application. This included sharing my testimony earlier this year. And so, I was able to avail of the privileges such as an oversight meeting with a biblically mature elder, a duty that they have as Christ’s undershepherd [1 Peter 5:1-11].
6. Answered Prayers – Every Wednesday eve, our church gathers to pray for the concerns of other churches, our local church collectively, and its members individually. This year, the Lord had favorably granted a number of my petitions which includes Personal spiritual growth, secondment to Singapore, favors at work, having the the whole family in one room, and not to mention my dad’s recovery from his illness are just a handful of the long list of things. And so, it gave me greater confidence that the Lord is compassionate and hears His people [Isaiah 56:7; Matthew 7:7].
7. Growing experiential understanding and reality of Christ’s Work on the Cross – Last June 3, after the preacher encouraged us to “Remember Him particularly on His death”, I had a glimpse of what it means to experience a hatred for sin unlike any I had before. An “allergic” reaction to be rid of my sin-breeding flesh to the point of great anguish. And so, it allowed me to consider how infinitely greater Christ’s bearing of sins in full view for all His people on the cross was [Romans 7:24-25; 2 Corinthians 5:21].
There are more to the list for what I’m actually thankful for, even more that I don’t know that I should be thankful for. The Lord in providence had dealt generously with unworthy creatures. May we be able to see more and more His faithfulness upon us, and commit ourselves unto such a Great King we have in the Lord Jesus Christ. For dear reader, we have not loved Him as we ought, nor will we ever. Perhaps, in that reality lies one of the greatest beauty of eternity as we come to progressively behold, without any blemish of sin, face to face the Source of all good things.
“For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.” – 1 Corinthians 13:12
“Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” – James 1:17