Panes: Grace for the time

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By Joel Panes

Optic Yellow

Monday, March 3, 2014


WHILE the city is caught in the Panagbenga's festal mood, fear gripped the nation this week when one of the country’s leading media organizations broadcasted a finding of two cases of mysterious skin diseases as prophesied by one Vincent Selvakumar and translated by one Sadhu Sundar Selvaraj in an event called 24th National Prayer Gathering at the Cuneta Astrodome last 11 April 2013.

After Typhoon Yolanda left nothing standing in Leyte and in the Central Visayas region, I had seen the video shared by a former student and had in fact shared the same with some of my closest friends. I wish I had the chance to type in a few annotations on the share but I found the message spoke loudly for itself. The details of “his” lengthy prediction are public knowledge by this time. It’s harder not to pay attention to the words spoken openly when the events predicted have unfolded with an impeccable degree of accuracy.

At this juncture, I do not hold the position the media discovery is truly a fulfillment of the word of prophecy. That should not even be our overwhelming concern. As a matter of fact, the Pangasinan Health Office quickly quashed the diseases were not flesh-eating and took the suffering persons in their custody. Something still unexpectedly constructive and positive had happened and hopefully even without the media spotlight, the patients will be given utmost care until they are cured. Free hospital care? Truly notable! What is now clear is that Pangasinan among other places has become media vulnerable.

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Here however is my take. I do not doubt God loves the Philippines. I believe the LORD cares for Pangasinan, Cebu, Palawan and the 70 other unnamed islands mentioned in the prophetic discourse. Once known as the Pearl of the Orient Seas since it was the only Christian nation in Asia, it has fallen short of its destined glory. The state of Philippine politics speaks for itself – fiascos and scams are all over the place.

And Philippine economics? Financial experts are bullish but the effects have sadly not translated to employment. In a 2013 survey by the Social Weather Station, 12.1 million of us are employed. From where I sit most of the time which is 27 floors high, I see a lot of job seekers applying with an office on the other end. Our inflation rate is 4.20% as of February 2014 which means money on savings accounts at the rate of 0.250% per annum have a negative real rate of return.

As for Philippine sports, the nation recently marveled at how Michael Martinez won honors for the country in the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics. I ask the question: will the Philippine Olympic Committee, Philippine Sports Commission and Department of Education unite to include figure skating in the National Games, Batang Pinoy and the Palarong Pambansa? I think Brooklyn Nets’ Andre Blatche has a better chance of being nationalized for the FIBA World Cup in Espana for a million US dollars a year even if a Blatche-anchored national team will likely sweat blood to survive in its assigned bracket.

And the state of faith in the Philippines? To deliberate on this issue is a tough cookie to handle. This is not yet the time for a holy war. From indexmundi.com, these statistics regarding religious groups were lifted: Catholic 82.9%; Muslim 5%; Evangelical 2.8%; Iglesia ni Kristo 2.3%; and other Christian 4.5%. Surely we can ponder upon the distribution of sects while enjoying a cup of coffee while contemplating to whom the prophetic message was for. In addition to the foregoing demographics, an interesting statement was also made by the “prophets” which was lost in the sensationalism of the event but not the sanctity of the message. This was about the existence of a 490 year old inter-generational sin.

On the lighter side, I have seen teams pray sincerely before games. I have seen young softbelles gather together before and after games to call upon the LORD to bless their game, take care of their team mates and bring out the best in them. This is not a strange sight. Faith in the supernatural One or the espousal of a religion is an indivisible element of humanity. It is the opium of the masses.

Actually it matters little whether a Deity is believed in. If one does not believe in God and believes in himself as the captain of his ship that is his religion. The one called “himself” is god unto himself. One’s belief system defines a lifestyle. It also defines the way the game one play.

How does this connect with the prophecy?

To be continued next week. We have grace for the time.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on March 04, 2014.

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