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Not a Lip Service

Not a Lip Service
by Danny Tariman

“And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.” (Luke 21:27)

“Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again!” The congregation loudly proclaims this acclamation every celebration of the Mass.

Several years back, I used to say the same verses during Masses without taking to heart what I say. It was so mechanical. It was a lip-service response to the priest’s call to proclaim the mystery of our faith. Its meaning does not go deep into my heart.

Until one day, I met Jesus and accepted Him as my personal Savior and Lord. Since then, my life has never been the same again. My attendance in the Mass is now filled with excitement and thanksgiving knowing that I will be receiving Him in the Holy Eucharist! My heart overflows with longing anticipation whenever I proclaim, “Christ will come again!” Yes! Jesus, the Lord of my life, the God to whom I pray everyday is coming! I will be seeing Him face to face!

My dear friend, today’s news and current events reveal that the Biblical prophesies about His second coming is near. Fearful? You should not be! Now is a very acceptable time; now is the day of salvation (2 Cor 6:2). Repent of your sins and accept Jesus into your heart.

Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, as I repent for all my sins. Enter now into my heart as I accept You as my Savior and Lord. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Amen.

[This reflection was written and published for Living Water Nov 28, 2002]

Promotion

Promotion
by Danny Tariman

“Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities.” (Matthew 25:21)

After graduating from college, she started as a contractual employee in a bank. She gave her best in her job, that in a little over a year, the bank hired her as a regular employee with a rank of “Junior Officer”. She literally didn’t go through a rank-and-file job in the bank.

She continued to give her best, sometimes rendering work beyond the regular working hours. A few years later, she was hired by an overseas company who gave her a good break, working on a new version of a banking system.

Returning back to Manila, her former employer contacted her and offered her a job, with a rank of “Senior Assistant Manager”. Not only was she given a jump in her rank, she was offered a good compensation package.

Pondering on her career, I believe she got the breakthroughs because she has given her best.

Today’s verse reminds us to be faithful and diligent in handling with our responsibilities, no matter how small. There are times that we may not be noticed by our boss, but just the same, give your best! Nothing escapes the eyes of our Heavenly Boss. It is the Lord who will cause your promotion.

Reflection: Are you wanting a promotion in your job? Keep giving your best; soon, you will see a breakthrough coming your way.

Prayer: Lord grant me the grace to be patient, as I wait for my promotion. Amen.

The Kingdom in Us

The Kingdom in Us
by Danny Tariman

“Behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.” (Luke 17:21b)

The Pharisees didn’t understand this verse. They were looking for a physical place or institution.

The LORD is telling us that His Kingdom is in us. It starts with the Holy Spirit working in our lives, renewing our hearts.

This brings to my mind a couple whom I ministered many years ago. They used to live in utter poverty; they didn’t know the Lord. They don’t even go to church on Sundays. Life was hard for them.

The man met the Lord at a time when he can’t even provide a decent meal for his family. It was the time when he hesitantly joined our Bible Study service, and then accepted Jesus as his Savior and Lord.

Since then, he thirsted for the Word of God. He, together with his wife and little kids, regularly attended our Bible Study. Slowly and surely, the Spirit of the Lord transformed him and his wife.

From an unbeliever, he and his wife became living witnesses of transformation. They regularly attend church services; they truly lived by faith. When there is a need, they pray for provision; when someone is sick, they pray for healing; when someone oppresses them, they forgive. Evidently, there is joy, there is love, and there is peace in their family and in their home. And yes, the Lord has prospered them; they now live a comfortable life!

Indeed, the Kingdom of God is in them.

Reflection: Do you want to experience a life to the full? Let the Lord Jesus reign in your life.

Prayers: Lord Jesus, I invite you to be my Lord and King. I surrender my life to You. Fill me with your Holy Spirit. Amen.

Steward of Money

Steward of Money
by Danny Tariman

“Prepare a full account of your stewardship, because you can no longer be my steward” (Luke 16:2)

A young girl was asked what she will do if she is blessed with lots of money. She exclaimed “I will use it to buy the things I want for myself! New clothes, new shoes, top-brand cellphone…”

The parable of the shrewd steward is a good reminder for us on how we should handle money, and how we let the lordship of Jesus rule in money matters.

We are simply stewards of the wealth given to us. The Bible tells us that gold and silver belong to the Lord (Haggai 2:8). Money may be good or bad, depending on how to use it; use it then for good. We can use money to help the poor cope with their difficulties, we can use it to bless people in need.

I praise the God for being the Lord and King of my family. We had been trying to live according to the teachings of the Church and of the Bible. I am thankful that our love for the poor had cascaded down to our children.

For few years now, whenever my daughter celebrates her birthday, she is always mindful on how to help the poor. She literally saves money so that come her birthday, she can have money to buy goodies for the poor.

I believe that when full accounting comes, I can humbly say “we made a good use of His money”.

Reflection: How do you use your money? How much of these go to people-in-need?

Prayers: Lord teach me to be generous. May I increase my giving as you increase my blessing. Amen.

Like the Dough

Like the Dough
by Danny Tariman

Again [Jesus] said, “To what shall I compare the Kingdom of God? It is like yeast… mixed in with… wheat flour until the whole batch of dough was leavened.” (Luke 13:20-21)

I like observing the dough that my daughter prepares every time she bakes bagels and buns. With just a couple of teaspoons of yeast mixed into a few cups of wheat flour, the dough grows big after letting it rest for a few minutes.

Just like building a ministry for the LORD.

I remember when we were first called to lead a ministry in the parish. We joined a team with just a few servants, focused in just one area of service.

Like the yeast which silently and steadily leavened the entire dough, the ministry grew.

From a few servants, it grew to about 30, doing a broad range of ministry work that reaches out to families all-over the parish. It had expanded services from marriage preparation, to marriage & parenting, to addressing the needs of families affected by migrant workers, to alleviating the needs of the elderly, to counselling services for distressed parishioners. From the parish center, it has gone out and conducted teachings in various sub-parishes.

Indeed, the ministry work expanded. And the Kingdom of God is truly growing! Thank You Holy Spirit for leading us!

Reflection: Do you pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance? Be led by the Spirit, and see how the LORD moves!

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful. And kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And you will renew the face of the earth.

Power in His Name

Power in His Name
by Danny Tariman

“But if it is by the finger of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.” (Luke 11:20)

Lying down on the floor, the young man was visibly struggling with something. His body was uncontrollably shaking. His tightly closed hands were as hard as a boxer’s fist. His head was swaying to the left and the right repeatedly. He was possessed by some evil spirits!

Sensing the condition, our elder asked for holy water to be sprinkled on the body of the possessed man. However, we don’t have the water he was asking nor any member of the congregation had. Armed with faith and with confidence in the power of Jesus’ name, a number of us prayed and laid our hands over a glass of purified drinking water so that the Lord will make it holy.

As the water was poured upon the head of the person and some were sprinkled over his body, the prayer warrior continued to cast out demons and evil spirits possessing the man, in the name of Jesus. Lo and behold! The man was liberated! He was freed!

Truly, Jesus’ name is powerful. The Bible says: “God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (Philippians 2:9-10).

My dear friend, have you truly trusted the power of Jesus’ name? Pray in His name, cast out and bind spirits in His name. Believe and see!

Dear Jesus, thank you for giving us Your most powerful Name. I fully trust in You!

[This reflection was first published in Living Water, Oct 2002]

Doing Good

Doing Good
by Danny Tariman

“But rather love your enemies and do good to them…then your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High.” (Luke 6:35)

One cannot easily ignore this girl in her teens. She was talking to the Lord in tears one Saturday evening before the start of a Bible Study service. Her eyes were swollen. She looked deeply in trouble.

Her parents left her when she was still a baby. Her foster parents did not treat her well. At 15 she was only in Grade 5. Early last summer, she was told she would no longer study this school year under their care. She was under the threat of being expelled from their home. However, having recently accepted Jesus as her personal Savior and Lord, she did not complain. She continued to do good to them. And she just cried her heart out to the Lord.

The gospel of today tells us to love our enemies. If the Bible tells us love our enemies and do good to them, how much more should we love and do good to those who are not really enemies – our spouse, our child, our parents, our brother or sister, our in-laws, or even friends. These are the people who are not really enemies but somewhere along the way have hurt our feelings, have offended us at times, and have strained our relationships.

The promise for this is “your reward will be great and you will be children of the Most High.”

Oh yes! About that teenage girl. Today, the Lord sufficiently provides her! She is able to continue her studies; she is complete with clothes, school supplies, food and even pocket money for her allowance! And she is able to joyfully serve the Lord!

Dear Jesus, I am sorry for the times that I harbored ill feelings. Grant me the grace to love even the most unlovable person. Amen.

[This reflection was first published in Living Water in Sept 2002]

My Friend

My Friend
by Danny Tariman

“You are my friends if you do what I command you.” (John 15:14)

I thought you are my friend!”, I would jokingly protest when Charlie (not his real name) would say something about me that I do not approve – not necessarily bad, but things that I just don’t like. He is a longtime friend who has been with me since my old life, and is still with me in the new life that I found in Christ. My friend knows my highs and my lows. He knows what makes me laugh, and what makes me sad.

Few years ago, I befriended this Person Who knows me far greater than this long-time friend of mine. He knows my needs. He knows my strengths, my weaknesses. He knows my everything! He is my Joy, He is my Strength, He is my Shield., my Treasure, my ALL! He is JESUS!

Today’s gospel reading reminds me that my friendship with Him lasts only up to the moment that I follow Him and obey His Word. My relationship with Him breaks when I go astray from His ways. And on those times that I go on my own way He would remind me, “I thought you are my friend!” not jokingly as I would tell my friend Charlie, but with all His love to win me back!

Psalm 25:14 (GNB) says “The Lord is the friend of those who obey him”.

My dear reader, Jesus loves you. He wants to befriend you. Will you be His friend?

Dear Jesus, thank You for calling me as Your friend. I am sorry for those times that I have not followed You. Yes, You are my friend! I resolve to follow You all the days of my life. Amen.

[This reflection was written for Living Water — May 4, 2004]

Caught in the Act

Caught in the Act
by Danny Tariman

“You must obey your earthly masters. Show them great respect and be as loyal to them as you are to Christ. Try to please them at all times, and not just when you think they are watching.” (Ephesians 6:5-6 CEV)

You are busy doing “something” at your office desk. Suddenly, your boss comes in. He went to his cubicle casually, but you feel a sudden rush of blood within you. Your shoulders jerk. Your arms and hands suddenly become stiff. And almost instantly, you fix your desk and proceed with your assigned work. Somehow, there is this little, almost inaudible voice telling you, “Why…?” Then for some reasons, you feel bothered.

You are caught in the act!

This happens every now and then. Specially during idle times. You make it appear you are doing something, when in fact you are not. You seem preoccupied with something but obviously you are doing nothing. And when the boss is out, you put down your pretensions. Because he does not see you!

But you have a greater boss than your office supervisor. He sees your heart, He sees your pretensions. He is looking at you every moment.

Today’s reading reminds us to do everything for the Lord. Colossians 3:22-24 says “Obey your earthly masters, in everything, not only while being watched and in order to please them, but wholeheartedly, fearing the Lord. Whatever your task, put yourselves into it, as done for the Lord and not for your masters, since you know that from the Lord you will receive inheritance as your reward”

Heavenly Father, I am sorry for not doing my task for You. I have offended You as I deceived my boss. Please forgive me. Grant me the grace to do all things for Your glory and praise from this moment on. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

[This reflection was written for Living Water – Oct 2004]

Sending my Heart

Sending my Heart
by Danny Tariman

“I am sending him, that is my own heart…” (Philemon 1:12)

With much eager anticipation, I returned to my seat at the final day of our 3-day Missions Conference in a beach resort in the Visayas. I am expectant of something great to happen as the main theme of the conference “Be filled with the Holy Spirit” will be presented by our charismatic and Spirit-led Elder.

As he went to the front however, even before starting to teach the Word of God, he said with a loving glance, with sincerity straight from his heart, “I would like to ask you, that as you go back to your respective mission fields, please tell your people ‘My wife and I, love them. We love them, and we pray for them.’”

A week later, as I go up the Sierra Madre mountain for my mission field, I was determined to bring the message I was asked to convey. Before I delivered my Bible teaching for the day, and without wasting any minute, I went to the front of the congregation, and told the people, “Our Elders asked me to let you know… (pause, seconds of silence)… they love you, and they always pray for you.”

Not a few people had their eyes wet with tears. Some have to take out hankies to wipe it dry. With that single sentence, I know in my heart, I was able to deliver the message of the Gospel. The message of my 35- to 40-minute teaching was put forth in a single minute! This was the message of love.

The entire Bible, may also be summarized in this one verse “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)!

Abba Father, thank you for giving us Your Son. Thank You for Your immeasurable love. I love You!

[This reflection was written for Living Water – Sept 2004]

Faith Paid for It

Faith Paid for It
by Danny A. Tariman

“And He did not work many mighty deeds there because of their lack of faith”.(Matthew 13:58)

“Pero Pare, paano?” our neighbor asked me after we prayed for her family’s condition. Her husband who was overseas had not remitted funds for many months and their house was in danger of being foreclosed. Before we prayed, I asked if she believed that God could ease her problem. She said, “Yes!” but followed it with her anxious question. A couple of months later, they moved out.

I, too, found myself in a bind. Sometime in August 2001, my family joined “in faith” with community members who were going to Cebu for a Catholic Revival Conference. We were able to pay the plane fare. But as we counted our remaining money, I learned that we would be short of cash – not even for the pocket money. So we prayed for provisions.

Three days before our departure however, no money came. We did not even have enough to pay for the airport terminal fee, much more for the taxi to take us to the airport! We prayed again. At about noon the day before our departure, my wife called my office, informing me that a check arrived—and the amount was enough to pay for our expenses!

But that was not all! While in Cebu, the Lord also provided my family an accommodation that was even better than the “rated” hotels in the area, plus a new car that we drove around the city!

In pressing circumstances, let us not doubt God. Mark 11:24 says, “All that you ask in prayer, believe that you shall receive it and it shall be yours.”

Dear Jesus, thank you for giving me the gift of faith. I fully trust in You. Amen.

[This reflection was first published in Living Water in April 2005]

A Heart for the Poor

A Heart for the Poor
by Danny Tariman

“But as to what is within, give alms, and behold, everything will be clean for you.” (Luke 11:41)

Today’s verse reminds us to be generous in meeting the needs of our poor brethren.

The Amplified Bible (AMP) gives us a clearer translation of this verse: “But give that which is within as charity [that is, acts of mercy and compassion, not as a public display, but as an expression of your faithfulness to God], and then indeed all things are clean for you.”

Recently, I received a surprise call from a friend. He told me that his family had decided to forego their Christmas gatherings because of the pandemic, and will give the money instead to feed the poor families in the neighborhood. I was deeply touched by his initiative, as he asked me to organize a feeding program.

Upon mention of “feeding program”, I remember that our Church had been giving food to the needy families in the community since the start of the lockdown. I quickly got in touch with our pastor who was very thankful for this initiative.

The following day, our pastor distributed food and goodies to the needy families.

I believe this is what the LORD reminds us today: to be generous to the needy, not as an outward show, but a deep concern for the poorest of the poor.

Reflection: Do you have a heart for the poor? Will you be a channel of God’s love and provision for them?

Prayers: Lord Jesus, grant me the grace to be generous, especially towards the poor members of our community. Amen.