THE SIGN



It's Christmas season and the whole Christendom is celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ (except for some religious groups such as Iglesia ni Cristo, Jehovah's Witnesses, Church of God International to name a few). Church pastors and parish priests alike would be talking about salvation - from time Isaiah prophesied the birth of Christ, until Jesus was born in Bethlehem, did miraculous things no one could ever imagine, suffered under His enemies, died and resurrected. It was a prophecy of hope.

Last Sunday, I attended the worship service at Victory Christian Fellowship in Robinsons Galleria Ortigas at exactly 7:30 in the evening. The church was packed with worshippers. I think most of them were working in the nearby companies ending the work shift at around 6pm. It was Pastor Ferdie Cabiling, the senior pastor, who shared the first part of the preaching series called "Ancient Prophecies."

The main text used in the preaching was found in Isaiah 7:14, "Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign: Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." It was a prophecy given by Isaiah to the people of Israel. There was a threat against Israelites, and as usual, it was a threat from the foreign kingdoms sorrounding Israel. In fact, throughout Israel's ancient history, she has been subdued by different invaders such as the Egyptians, Babylonians, Persians, and Romans. Imagine the hardships and maltreatment they received from those oppressors. In spite of all these, being the chosen people of God, God Himself provided a solution. He spoke to Isaiah to tell the people of Israel that God was giving them a sign. So Israelites were very happy including the king. I think the Israelite nation was expecting something that was great and mighty like an army to help them. But they were wrong. God gave them the sign: the birth of a baby which would be named as Immanuel meaning God with us. King Ahaz did not accept this. It was totally unbelievable, far from the truth. Instead of believing Isaiah, King Ahaz connived with the enemies. The rest is history. God used the enemies to teach the children of Isarel to trust in Him no matter what.

While Pastor Ferdie was sharing all these things, my mind was focused to our nation, Philippines. I thought of Israel as the Philippines. For few weeks now, we are being bombarded with so many negative news about the country, especially the Maguindanao massacre where 57 people were killed by the supposed powerful political clan in Maguindanao, the Ampatuans. I relate the situation of the Filipinos to those of Israelites, wandering in the desert, asking each other if there is still hope for our country. For years, Filipino Christians are praying for leaders in the government that their minds may be enlightened, and pursue the goal of righteousness in governance. We've been praying for righteous leaders to come out and stand for us. Now, God is giving us the sign that we still have hope - that God will never forsake us.

If we really want a geniune change for our nation, pray that God will work in the heart of every Filipino to vote for candidates in 2010 elections who have the heart and passion to serve the people. No more to self-vested interests. Vote for candidates who are righteous - candidates who have God in their lives, who are serving Him faithfully. You have been praying for righteous leadership in the government - now God is giving us the SIGN. Believe in the sign, transform your belief into a very important political decision you are going to make in May 10, 2010, and put your trust in God that He will do the rest.

This nation will rise soon. Let's unite and stop doubting. 
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