My family and I left Oregon for the Philippines to celebrate my mother in-law’s 80th birthday. She wanted us to attend not knowing if she was ever going to see us again due to her advanced age.
We left the States on 9/23/2019 and will return in a month. Personally, I have never left the United States so this was my first international trip. When I got here, what stood out the most was the driving of the Filipinos. In Bohol, there are barely any traffic lights and most of the streets do not have a definite lane. Everyone seems like they are going to ram into you unless one decides to yield, almost like playing chicken.
The most prominent vehicle seen in the City of Tagbilaran is a tricycle in which the fare is 10 pesos [10 dollars in Filipino currency] per person, which equals 19 cents for a ride of about 1 Km [0.62 miles] and after that, they start charging extra. I’m not sure at what rate per km.
What’s intriguing about these tricycles is that all of them have bible verses on the back. It is mandatory by way of a city ordinance to have a verse emblazoned on the back of the vehicle otherwise their license can be revoked. When I first saw it, I was amazed, frankly. After two weeks of being here, something stirred in my heart to know why God has favored Bohol. I actually thought that it was the whole Philippines until my wife told me it was only in Bohol, in one city called Tagbilaran. The Philippines comprises over 7,000 islands and out of all those islands, just one city [Tagbilaran] has God set His favor upon.
God’s Word is referred to in Scripture as food for one’s soul.
Matthew 4:4 But he answered, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’”
Jeremiah 15:16 Your words were found, and I ate them. Your words were to me a joy and the rejoicing of my heart, for I am called by your name, Yahweh, God of Armies.
Psalms 119:101-103 101 I have kept my feet from every evil way, that I might observe your word. 102 I have not turned away from your ordinances, for you have taught me. 103 How sweet are your promises to my taste, more than honey to my mouth!
I was asking myself, “Why is this City favored by God?” What are these people doing that God has showered them with His Word?”
My search began by opening up my Bible and seeking an answer. I first looked at key verses on the computer but was not satisfied, although I found Amos Chapter 8 which took me on the right track.
In Amos 8:11-12, it says, 11 Behold, the days come,” says the Lord Yahweh, “that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing Yahweh’s words. 12 They will wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east; they will run back and forth to seek Yahweh’s word, and will not find it.
In the verses above, it shows that if a nation which in the context it is referring to Israel, departs from the LORD completely, He will take His Word away from that nation, starving their souls. We see this when a country becomes communist [Atheist]. Wickedness will increase and the people will suffer greatly. God’s Word brings people to the Lord which makes them love their enemies showing a tremendous transformation of a person that only God can do.
I opened up my Bible and started looking and suddenly, my daughter said to me, “Daddy, Matthew 14 just came to my mind, also verse 13.” I quickly turned to it which reads, “13 Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat, to a deserted place apart. When the multitudes heard it, they followed him on foot from the cities.”
I continued reading the passages after verse 13 to get the scope and meaning of the verse.
14 Jesus went out, and he saw a great multitude. He had compassion on them, and healed their sick. 15 When evening had come, his disciples came to him, saying, “This place is deserted, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves food.” 16 But Jesus said to them, “They don’t need to go away. You give them something to eat.” 17 They told him, “We only have here five loaves and two fish.” 18 He said, “Bring them here to me.” 19 He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass; and he took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, broke and gave the loaves to the disciples, and the disciples gave to the multitudes. 20 They all ate, and were filled. They took up twelve baskets full of that which remained left over from the broken pieces. 21 Those who ate were about five thousand men, in addition to women and children.
I believe that the Lord gave my daughter the answer to my question by connecting Matthew 14 to Amos 8. You see, when a nation desires to seek the Lord through His Word, God gives them their desires. Jesus went away to a secluded place but the people really sought the Lord by searching for Him. In response to that, Jesus fed them. The connection is that the Word of God is referenced as spiritual food and even though in Matthew 14:13-21 it was physical food, it shows that Jesus provides nourishment not only for the body but also for the inner man. Jesus showed me that the City of Tagbilaran searched for Jesus and were hungry for His Word so He blessed them by putting it behind all of the tricycles so that everyone can hear from God.
If one wants to know what the Lord is saying, all that person has to do is go outside, look at a tricycle and they will hear loud and clear what God is saying to them.
God’s presence is in the City of Tagbilaran for His Word reigns there. No place is perfect, but God’s work is evident because the leaders are seeking Christ. In the United States, there are some places that are trying to ban the Bible and for most of the country, they have managed to kick God out of the public schools and government institutions. You will know when a place starts heading in the wrong direction when they kick God out of the public square.
In Isaiah 55:10-11, it says, 10 For as the rain comes down and the snow from the sky, and doesn’t return there, but waters the earth, and makes it grow and bud, and gives seed to the sower and bread to the eater; 11 so is my word that goes out of my mouth: it will not return to me void, but it will accomplish that which I please, and it will prosper in the thing I sent it to do.
The Lord Jesus Christ is moving in that city, bringing people to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, not only to its citizens but foreigners from all over the world. His Word will not return void for God watches over His Word.
The Scriptures are quoted from the WEB (World English Bible)