Blessed is He By Cathy Hizo
'Ano ang sasabihin mo?' as a little girl mother would ask me that whenever somebody hands me a gift. I believe being grateful is a character that is taught and not caught. To be grateful to the LORD in everything is second skin to the observant Jews. In fact, one lunch time our conversation were punctuated with laughter when we came across the following blessings (Berakhot) by the Jews: When you hear thunder or feel an earthquake, you say, Blessed is he whose strength and power fill the world. When you see a friend after a year's separation, you say, Blessed is he who revives the dead. When it rains (or something else good happens), you say, Blessed is he who is good and gives good things! When something terrible happens, you say, Blessed is he who is the true judge. We greeted the above not with a condescending laughter but we laugh in both amusement and amazement. We are accustom to thanking the Lord much of the times for the good things never on bad events. Since about A.D. 400, prayers of blessing have always started with the words, 'Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe...' In the first century they were much shorter, simply beginning with the words 'Blessed is he...' As 2010 fizzles out in the smoke-filled air let me recite my own blessing to the God I serve: 'Blessed are you Lord God Almighty for keeping your promise.' I almost forgot about it until the Lord, true to His nature of being a promise keeping God reminded me of His covenant. The mission trip to Israel came unexpectedly but God ordained it since the beginning. I was not part of the Israel Team nor did I plan to go out on a mission trip this year. It started with the proverbial 'napadaan lang ako' while Israel Team was then having its initial meeting. My discipler whose convincing power is fantastic with a heart sold out to Israel ribbed me 'halika na mag join ka lang sa meeting.' The next thing I knew I was inching my way through the crowded Zion Square in Jerusalem during the Shabbat celebration of the Jews. The concept of praying for Israel and why we need to be grafted to our Jewish root through faith in Yeshua escaped me not until the Lord brought me to the holy land. As I welcome 2011 I say, 'Blessed is the LORD who has done good to the undeserving and has rendered kindness to me!' Shalom to us all.