The hidden life of Christ; Our hidden life in Christ.

“And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed” –  Mark 1:35

At dawn,  long before the sun rose,  Jesus got up. Leaving the house,  he went into a deserted place.  And there he prayed.

This verse is sandwiched between the sentences that are full of activities and actions.  Jesus – healing the sick, casting out demons, responding to the demands of the disciples,  traveling throughout Galilee,  preaching  from synagogue to synagogue.

What a very busy and demanding life Jesus must have had! I wonder what time he went to bed the night before?  It was at sunset when Jesus and his disciples gathered at the door of Simon and Andrew’s house.  It must have been very late when He finished ministering to the people.

But Jesus saw the importance of getting up early in the morning.  He knew that in the center of breathless activities – there must be rest; in the center of preaching, silence;  in the midst of movement, pause; and in the middle of action, contemplation and solitude.

In the Gospels,  you will find many instances where Christ withdrew from the crowd,  right in the middle of being engaged in many activities.  He would often go to a lonely place to rest, not only physically,  but to meet with His Father.

He also commanded His disciples to do the same, to go to a place where they could get away from the crowd to rest physically and also to commune with the Father,  to renew their strength and find refreshment, in order to be ready again to minister to people.

I believe that the power of Jesus’ ministry is hidden in that lonely place, that solitary place, where He went to pray, long before dawn, long before the day breaks.

In the lonely place, Jesus found the courage to follow the Father’s will and not His own; to speak God’s word and not His own; to do God’s work and not His own.  He said: “ I can do nothing by myself…my aim is to do not my will, but the will of Him who sent me.”

Jesus said: “The words I say to you,  I do not speak as from myself.”  “It is the Father living in me who is doing the work.”

In the lonely place,  Jesus enters intimacy with the Father.  His ministry started in the lonely place,  in the wilderness, when He was alone being tempted by the devil.  His ministry was fulfilled in the lonely place, in the Garden of Gethsemane.

There,  He demonstrated His triumph because He sought the Father’s presence,  His will and His strength to finish the task that was given Him.

What a challenge and encouragement to each of us to do the same.  Is there a lonely place in our lives?  A lonely space where we seek God’s face to obey His will?

Do not forsake the lonely place — for you are never alone in that place —  God is there waiting for you,  faithfully longing to be with you, to love you and to delight in you,  to heal your wounds and pains,  to strengthen and comfort you, to  prepare you for the task that you have been given.

We are God’s beloved.  Oh,  how He longs for us to come to Him.  To enjoy His presence.  We are His joy. His inheritance.  He loves so much.  May His love be the magnet that would draw us to Him.  Come and enter into God’s lonely place for you.

Lina Padilla, MEANS Board Chair

Bacolod MEANS Fellowship

It all came as a pleasant surprise from the Father.   Last December, no one in MEANS was even planning for it.  It came about when our board member,  Amy J. Rio,  told Carmena and Lina that she will be going to Bacolod City, Philippines  to celebrate her mother’s 80th birthday.  She asked if it would be possible to visit some MEANS ministry partners in Bacolod City.

At first, we thought of names of ministry partners for Amy to visit; but somehow,  the idea came that it would be more strategic if we had a MEANS dinner reception in Bacolod for our ministry partners.

The MEANS dinner reception was held at Tamera Plaza Inn on January 17, 2011.  Forty people representing 12 organizations and churches attended the reception.

The format of the program was simple. Amy presented a power point on “What is MEANS” followed by questions and answers and dinner fellowship with our ministry partners in Bacolod. Pastor Godfrey and Dina Serfino of Ebenezer Christian Reformed Church were the host coordinators at the reception.

2011 May Bacolod MEANS Fellowship - CRC Church

Amy commented: “They had a great time of fellowship.  They met other ministry partners of MEANS in Bacolod.  Most of all, they came to understand the ministry of MEANS, that it is manned by volunteers who are totally committed in faithfully serving the Lord Jesus.”

The You Tube presentation showing each MEANS volunteer greeting the guests has touched a cord in their hearts , especially when they saw that MEANS  volunteers were composed of  families with their children, old and young  who are not being paid to serve our ministry partners in that part of the Philippines.

2011 May Bacolod MEANS Fellowship - FF Gonzaga Principal

At the reception, F. F. Gonzaga School principal,  Ms. Federez, was given a clock as a token of appreciation for allowing our ministry partner, The Lord’s Lampstand Christian Church, to distribute thongs to about 500 students at the school.  Lampstand is holding Bible Studies and Value Formation Classes  regularly at the school.