Jan Silan, Little Whispers

The Bible They Read Is YOU

First Reading
Gn 16:1-12, 15-16

Abram’s wife Sarai had borne him no children.
She had, however, an Egyptian maidservant named Hagar.
Sarai said to Abram:
“The LORD has kept me from bearing children.
Have intercourse, then, with my maid;
perhaps I shall have sons through her.”
Abram heeded Sarai’s request.
Thus, after Abram had lived ten years in the land of Canaan,
his wife Sarai took her maid, Hagar the Egyptian,
and gave her to her husband Abram to be his concubine.
He had intercourse with her, and she became pregnant.
When she became aware of her pregnancy,
she looked on her mistress with disdain.
So Sarai said to Abram:
“You are responsible for this outrage against me.
I myself gave my maid to your embrace;
but ever since she became aware of her pregnancy,
she has been looking on me with disdain.
May the LORD decide between you and me!”
Abram told Sarai: “Your maid is in your power.
Do to her whatever you please.”
Sarai then abused her so much that Hagar ran away from her.

The LORD’s messenger found her by a spring in the wilderness,
the spring on the road to Shur, and he asked,
“Hagar, maid of Sarai, where have you come from
and where are you going?”
She answered, “I am running away from my mistress, Sarai.”
But the LORD’s messenger told her:
“Go back to your mistress and submit to her abusive treatment.
I will make your descendants so numerous,” added the LORD’s messenger,
“that they will be too many to count.
Besides,” the LORD’s messenger said to her:

“You are now pregnant and shall bear a son;
you shall name him Ishmael,
For the LORD has heard you,
God has answered you.

This one shall be a wild ass of a man,
his hand against everyone,
and everyone’s hand against him;
In opposition to all his kin
shall he encamp.”

Hagar bore Abram a son,
and Abram named the son whom Hagar bore him Ishmael.
Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.

Or
Gn 16:6B-12, 15-16

Abram told Sarai: “Your maid is in your power.
Do to her whatever you please.”
Sarai then abused her so much that Hagar ran away from her.

The LORD’s messenger found her by a spring in the wilderness,
the spring on the road to Shur, and he asked,
“Hagar, maid of Sarai, where have you come from
and where are you going?”
She answered, “I am running away from my mistress, Sarai.”
But the LORD’s messenger told her:
“Go back to your mistress and submit to her abusive treatment.
I will make your descendants so numerous,” added the LORD’s messenger,
“that they will be too many to count.
Besides,” the LORD’s messenger said to her:

“You are now pregnant and shall bear a son;
you shall name him Ishmael,
For the LORD has heard you,
God has answered you.

This one shall be a wild ass of a man,
his hand against everyone,
and everyone’s hand against him;
In opposition to all his kin
shall he encamp.”

Hagar bore Abram a son,
and Abram named the son whom Hagar bore him Ishmael.
Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 106:1B-2, 3-4A, 4B-5
R. (1b) Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his mercy endures forever.
Who can tell the mighty deeds of the LORD,
or proclaim all his praises?
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Blessed are they who observe what is right,
who do always what is just.
Remember us, O LORD, as you favor your people.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Visit me with your saving help,
that I may see the prosperity of your chosen ones,
rejoice in the joy of your people,
and glory with your inheritance.
R. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
or:
R. Alleluia.

Gospel
Mt 7:21-29

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’
will enter the Kingdom of heaven,
but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.
Many will say to me on that day,
‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name?
Did we not drive out demons in your name?
Did we not do mighty deeds in your name?’
Then I will declare to them solemnly,
‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you evildoers.’

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them
will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.
And everyone who listens to these words of mine
but does not act on them
will be like a fool who built his house on sand.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”

When Jesus finished these words,
the crowds were astonished at his teaching,
for he taught them as one having authority,
and not as their scribes.

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taringa

REFLECTION

 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Matthew 7:24

When I was still working in a corporate setting, I have been inviting and convincing my officemates to attend our prayer meeting. I’ve sent email blasts and texts, and to some, I literally drag them out of the office. Unfortunately, those methods did not work. I was not able to make them stay and appreciate the prayer meetings.

But then, it hit me that the more I invited them, the more they are looking into my life. They became more watchful of my behavior, of the words that come out of my mouth, of the things I do when pressure rises, and of the other times when my character is being tested.

In other words, they were checking if something good is happening to my life, if something good was happening within me, since I’m the one who is attending religious gathering. It dawned on me, that it does not matter what I say or where I invited them. What mattered to them was if I was becoming the Jesus, I am crazy about.

Friends, if you’ll be sharing the love of God to others, then the best way is to live your life in love – a life that has peace inside you even if there is a war of pride happening outside. Your life might be the only bible that other people read. Share this love of Christ to others by showing them how great, happy, awesome our God is. – Jan Silan (jcsilan@yahoo.com)

 

PRAYER

Father, may I not only hear Your words for me but also have the courage to apply it in my daily walk in this life. Amen.

REFLECTION QUESTION

Is Jesus seen by the people around you? Do you get irritated at once? Say bad words? Gossip others? Do harm to others?

Photo source: taringa.com

Jan Silan, Little Whispers

Keep The Faith Up

First Reading
Sir 1: 1 – 10

All wisdom comes from the LORD
and with him it remains forever, and is before all time
The sand of the seashore, the drops of rain,
the days of eternity: who can number these?
Heaven’s height, earth’s breadth,
the depths of the abyss: who can explore these?
Before all things else wisdom was created;
and prudent understanding, from eternity.
The word of God on high is the fountain of wisdom
and her ways are everlasting.
To whom has wisdom’s root been revealed?
Who knows her subtleties?
To whom has the discipline of wisdom been revealed?
And who has understood the multiplicity of her ways ?
There is but one, wise and truly awe-inspiring,
seated upon his throne:
There is but one, Most High
all-powerful creator-king and truly awe-inspiring one,
seated upon his throne and he is the God of dominion.
It is the LORD; he created her through the Holy Spirit,
has seen her and taken note of her.
He has poured her forth upon all his works,
upon every living thing according to his bounty;
he has lavished her upon his friends.

Responsorial
Psalm Ps 93: 1, 2, 5

R. (1a) The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
The LORD is king, in splendor robed;
robed is the LORD and girt about with strength.
R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
And he has made the world firm,
not to be moved.
Your throne stands firm from of old;
from everlasting you are, O LORD.
R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.
Your decrees are worthy of trust indeed:
holiness befits your house,
O LORD, for length of days.
R. The Lord is king; he is robed in majesty.

Gospel
Mk 9: 14 – 29

As Jesus came down from the mountain with Peter, James, John
and approached the other disciples,
they saw a large crowd around them and scribes arguing with them.
Immediately on seeing him,
the whole crowd was utterly amazed.
They ran up to him and greeted him.
He asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?”
Someone from the crowd answered him,
“Teacher, I have brought to you my son possessed by a mute spirit.
Wherever it seizes him, it throws him down;
he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid.
I asked your disciples to drive it out, but they were unable to do so.”
He said to them in reply,
“O faithless generation, how long will I be with you?
How long will I endure you? Bring him to me.”
They brought the boy to him.
And when he saw him,
the spirit immediately threw the boy into convulsions.
As he fell to the ground, he began to roll around
and foam at the mouth.
Then he questioned his father,
“How long has this been happening to him?”
He replied, “Since childhood.
It has often thrown him into fire and into water to kill him.
But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
Jesus said to him,
“‘If you can!’ Everything is possible to one who has faith.”
Then the boy’s father cried out, “I do believe, help my unbelief!”
Jesus, on seeing a crowd rapidly gathering,
rebuked the unclean spirit and said to it,
“Mute and deaf spirit, I command you:
come out of him and never enter him again!”
Shouting and throwing the boy into convulsions, it came out.
He became like a corpse, which caused many to say, “He is dead!”
But Jesus took him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up.
When he entered the house, his disciples asked him in private,
“Why could we not drive the spirit out?”
He said to them, “This kind can only come out through prayer.”

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images

REFLECTION

“Everything is possible for one who believes.” Mark 9:23

In November 2011, I received a call from a friend telling me that there was a possibility for me to join the Hillsong Conference in Australia. The moment I heard about it, I started not only to pray that it will happen, but I also THANKED GOD for what is about to happen.

So, I needed to save around Php70,000. I was a bit unsure how to generate such amount, but with faith, I still thanked God because I knew He will bring me there.

I was saving up big time for the event until something unexpected happened. My Lola died and we needed money to process everything that needed to be done. With pain in my heart because of our loss, but with so much love I gave all my savings for my Lola without hesitation.

I was back to zero. With a few more months to go, it seemed impossible. But, I continued to thank God every day for I know He will make it happen. Every single day, I prayed, thanked, and hoped.

By the grace of God, many opportunities came that helped me start saving again. A person lent me money and my Visa application was approved. Then, in July 2012, I witnessed my prayer coming true. Yes! I was flying in an airplane bound for Australia.

While I was in the Hillsong Conference worshipping the great Provider, I can’t help but be in awe by His faithfulness. God is indeed faithful to His promises.

Friends, keep the faith up! It was God who planted the dreams in your heart. I believe that He is faithful to complete the work He begun. As you wait for your dreams, keep on working, keep on dreaming, and keep on thanking. – Jan Silan (jcsilan@gmail.com)

PRAYER

Father, I believe that You are the Lord of my dreams. My work will be a manifestation of my faithfulness in Your promises.

REFLECTION QUESTION

Do you have impossible, mind blowing, outrageous dreams? Remember, if your dreams are not intimidating to you, there is a big chance you are insulting God.

Photo source: http://www.totalmortgage.com

Jan Silan, Little Whispers

Crazy Team Building

First Reading
Acts 13:14, 43-52

Paul and Barnabas continued on from Perga
and reached Antioch in Pisidia.
On the sabbath they entered the synagogue and took their seats.
Many Jews and worshipers who were converts to Judaism
followed Paul and Barnabas, who spoke to them
and urged them to remain faithful to the grace of God.

On the following sabbath almost the whole city gathered
to hear the word of the Lord.
When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy
and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said.
Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said,
“It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first,
but since you reject it
and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life,
we now turn to the Gentiles.
For so the Lord has commanded us,
I have made you a light to the Gentiles,
that you may be an instrument of salvation
to the ends of the earth.”

The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this
and glorified the word of the Lord.
All who were destined for eternal life came to believe,
and the word of the Lord continued to spread
through the whole region.
The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were worshipers
and the leading men of the city,
stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas,
and expelled them from their territory.
So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them,
and went to Iconium.
The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 100:1-2, 3, 5


R.We are his people, the sheep of his flock.

Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.
R. We are his people, the sheep of his flock.
Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.
R. We are his people, the sheep of his flock.
The LORD is good:
his kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.
R. We are his people, the sheep of his flock.

 

Second Reading
Rev 7:9, 14B-17

I, John, had a vision of a great multitude,
which no one could count,
from every nation, race, people, and tongue.
They stood before the throne and before the Lamb,
wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands.

Then one of the elders said to me,
“These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress;
they have washed their robes
and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

“For this reason they stand before God’s throne
and worship him day and night in his temple.
The one who sits on the throne will shelter them.
They will not hunger or thirst anymore,
nor will the sun or any heat strike them.
For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne
will shepherd them
and lead them to springs of life-giving water,
and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Gospel
Jn 10:27-30

Jesus said:
“My sheep hear my voice;
I know them, and they follow me.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish.
No one can take them out of my hand.
My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all,
and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand.
The Father and I are one.”

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blindfold

REFLECTION

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27

Last month, I gave a whole day team-building session to a company. I had one activity where I asked them to use their handkerchief to cover their eyes and listen to the directions given by their group leader. The group leader is not allowed to touch the participants as they move in the obstacle course.

To spice up the activity, I tune up the volume of the background music to its loudest. They were not able to hear one another. Aside from the irritating background music, I was shouting at the participants’ ears directing them to the other direction. It was crazy! But man, they were very competitive!

The winning group made a great strategy. They assigned a girl with a unique irritating voice as their group leader. The participants knew her voice and followed her all the way.

Friends, I hope you know the voice of God. In the midst of all the noise of the world, if you know the unique, sweet, tender, and loving voice of your Savior, you will not lose hope and faith, and you would know He is just always there by you side. – Jan Silan (jcsilan@gmail.com)

PRAYER
Father, may I hear your unique, sweet, tender, and loving voice. Encourage me today. Amen.

REFLECTION QUESTION
When you pray, do you pause and listen to what God has to say?

Photo source: http://www.callcentrehelper.com

Jan Silan, Little Whispers

He Is Greater

First Reading
1 Jn 3:22-4:6

Beloved:
We receive from him whatever we ask,
because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him.
And his commandment is this:
we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ,
and love one another just as he commanded us.
Those who keep his commandments remain in him, and he in them,
and the way we know that he remains in us
is from the Spirit whom he gave us.

Beloved, do not trust every spirit
but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God,
because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
This is how you can know the Spirit of God:
every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh
belongs to God,
and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus
does not belong to God.
This is the spirit of the antichrist
who, as you heard, is to come,
but in fact is already in the world.
You belong to God, children, and you have conquered them,
for the one who is in you
is greater than the one who is in the world.
They belong to the world;
accordingly, their teaching belongs to the world,
and the world listens to them.
We belong to God, and anyone who knows God listens to us,
while anyone who does not belong to God refuses to hear us.
This is how we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of deceit.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 2:7-8,10-12

R. I will give you all the nations for an inheritance.
The LORD said to me, “You are my Son;
this day I have begotten you.
Ask of me and I will give you
the nations for an inheritance
and the ends of the earth for your possession.”
R. I will give you all the nations for an inheritance.
And now, O kings, give heed;
take warning, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice before him;
with trembling rejoice.
R. I will give you all the nations for an inheritance.

Gospel
Mt 4:12-17,23-25

When Jesus heard that John had been arrested,
he withdrew to Galilee.
He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea,
in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali,
that what had been said through Isaiah the prophet
might be fulfilled:

Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali,
the way to the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles,
the people who sit in darkness
have seen a great light,
on those dwelling in a land overshadowed by death
light has arisen.

From that time on, Jesus began to preach and say,
“Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

He went around all of Galilee,
teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom,
and curing every disease and illness among the people.
His fame spread to all of Syria,
and they brought to him all who were sick with various diseases
and racked with pain,
those who were possessed, lunatics, and paralytics,
and he cured them.
And great crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, and Judea,
and from beyond the Jordan followed him.

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JAN SILAN nJoo.deviantart.com

REFLECTION

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

A couple of years ago, I was tasked to lead the Youth Ministry for 3 years. I was initially hesitant because it meant that I needed to free up my Saturday afternoons for prayer meetings, weekly meetings, develop formation programs and to attend to other ministry needs. I also thought of all the possible problems I may encounter, like conflicts with schedule and with other leaders. I questioned my capacity to lead the ministry.

I enumerated my list of concerns to God and felt so much peace afterwards. In my heart, I heard His assurance that He has a solution for all of it and that all I had to do was to say yes to Him.

It was not easy but it was truly rewarding. God perfectly set my schedule and provided for our every need. In the end, we were able to achieve all our targets and more youth came to know Christ.

Friends, if you have decisions that you need to make that scare you, remember that God–who is greater than all of our problems combined–has already solved all of it. All He asks is that you are ready to say yes to Him. – Jan Silan (jcsilan@gmail.com)

PRAYER
Father, I pray that my faith increases. I acknowledge that You are God over all my problems. Help me today. Amen.

REFLECTION QUESTION
Has God been asking you to do greater things? Are you saying yes to them?

Photo source:  nJoo.deviantart.com