Vanity of Vanities?

“Let us hear the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring very work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 KJV)

You can’t be blamed if the impression you get from reading Ecclesiastes is that “Everything is vanity” must be its theme. But when you reach chapter 12, there seems to be a great reversal of this theme. Instead of “Nothing matters,” this time everything matters because God will judge everything you do. The fact that God is there and will judge everything we’ve done makes everything we do significant. Our lives and actions are meaningful because there is a God who will evaluate all these and will stamp his seal of approval (or disapproval) upon all that we’ve done. If so, we have to make sure we’re ready to face him on judgment day.

The jar of flour and the jug of oil

“The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.” (1 Kings 17)

The Lord provides!

He made the brook at Cherith from which Elijah drank, and he commanded the ravens to feed him day and night.

And when the brook dried up he commanded a widow – of all people! – whose food supplies were about to run out, to feed him.

And even in the worst of times, a severe drought, “The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah.”

Why, then, do I worry?

Forgive me, Lord, for the many times I’ve worried about provisions in life. Help me to trust that you will provide for all our needs even in the worst of times. Amen.

Thomas Merton on Spirituality

“The spiritual life is first of all a life. It is not merely something to be known and studied, it is to be lived.”

But if so, then spirituality must be an engagement with ordinary life, not a withdrawal from it. Merton himself said, “Jesus lived the ordinary life of the men of His time, in order to sanctify the ordinary lives of men of all time.”

And to think that the most spiritual human of them all spent the greater part of his life being a carpenter rather than a preacher! Hands-on engagement with life rather than abstract contemplation of it – that is spirituality.

“The spiritual life is not, therefore, a life entirely uprooted from man’s human condition and transplanted into the realm of the angels … If we are to become spiritual, we must remain men.”

Spirituality, then, is a form of humanism; an acceptance of one’s humanity, not a denial thereof. After all, we are human beings, not angels. This does not mean that we tolerate the sins done in and through the body; it means that this weak human flesh can be an instrument of righteousness – if we present our bodies to God as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1).

God’s Anger

“God is a righteous judge, and a God who feels indignation everyday.” (Psalm 7)

God can and does feel anger, but it is a righteous anger consistent with his righteous character. The Bible depicts God as a being who has emotions, but these emotions are under his control. If ever he becomes angry it is because he chooses to be. It is in this light that we should understand the biblical passages that describe him as being provoked by our sins. Being omniscient, he is not caught by surprise by them; nevertheless, he is genuinely provoked and his anger is genuine as well.

“If a man does not repent, God will whet his sword.” (Psalm 7)

The threat is real and should not be taken lightly. In 1 Kings ch. 16, because Baasha provoked the Lord God of Israel to anger with his idols, the Lord destroyed all his house (i.e., family) through the hand of Zimri, in accordance with what the Lord spoke by Jehu the prophet.

Do we take the Lord’s anger lightly? Do we provoke him to anger?

Lord, forgive us for the many times we have provoked you to anger. Help us to fear you with a holy fear. Amen.

For a Dear Friend Who Recently Died

His soul has gone to heaven,
his body left behind,
his friends are all a-weeping,
his loved ones all resigned

to what they deem unchangeable
– the Almighty’s stern decree:
The soul, although immortal,
must soon the body flee.

But still they bravely carry on,
their grief can’t overwhelm them.
They know the One and Only Son
will comfort and sustain them.

And tho’ their loved one might be gone,
’tis only for a season.
The One and Only Son shall come,
and he will rise again!

(Written on 03 December 2017)

Fixed Term Employment Contract (Reposted)

What is a fixed-term employment contract and when is it considered valid? The Supreme Court had occasion to tackle these questions in the case of Cherry J. Price, et al. versus INNODATA Phils. Inc., et al., (G.R. No. 178505), promulgated on September 30, 2008. Continue reading “Fixed Term Employment Contract (Reposted)”

My Blog Hacked!

I tried accessing my blog post entitled Fixed-Term Employment Contract only to discover that someone else’s post appears in it even though the title remains the same. It’s one of my most visited posts. I don’t know what happened. I have to check my other popular posts to see if they’ve been hacked too. Anyway I’ll be reposting the “Fixed-Term Employment Contract” post in a little while.

Eyes and Heart

“From this you see that blessedness depends upon the act of vision, not upon the act of love – which is a consequence.” (Dante’s Paradiso, Canto XXVIII, line 109)

The eyes and the heart are connected. What you regularly feast your eyes on, the heart learns to love with an iron grip. The eyes, the heart, and the object of affection are all caught up together in an iron embrace of either life or death, depending on the character of the object one has set her eyes and heart upon and the manner by which it is seen and loved. The object of affection serves to either elevate one’s soul or corrupt it.

It’s time to heed the words of the children’s song: “Be careful little eyes what you see.”

The Christian’s Employment

“On the other hand, what should be the exercise and employment of a Christian? It is even this, whatever he be, or whatever his occupation be among men, he drives a higher trade with heaven, that should take him up. The world gets but his spare hours. He is upon a more noble and high project. He aspires after a kingdom. His heart is above where Christ is, and where his treasure is. And these things exhaust his affections and pains.”

(Hugh Binning’s The Christian’s Primary Obligation)

Interesting thought. Not the kind you hear from this world’s self-help gurus or productivity experts. Not a recipe for worldly success.

But come to think of it, using Paul as an example, although he was a tent-maker there is no evidence he was the best in the world at that (although one may safely assume he did a decent job). But he was certainly the greatest apostle of them all.

And that’s because his heart wasn’t intent on tents (pun intended). Sure, he made tents – but only for the sake of the gospel. The gospel was what his heart was really intent on. And that’s what exhausted his affections and pains.