Coelho’s The Fifth Mountain

I had the chance of reading this book a week ago and it immediately became one of my favorites. Right now there are a number of books I’m struggling to finish reading but still I finished this one before everything else because I very much enjoyed readint it. Not to mention that it is relatively shorter than the others. Also, I just borrowed the book.Hehe.

During my reading, I thought of writing down some quotes from the book that I found striking, together with my neverending list of vocabulary words. Lol! I wanted to post the quotes, not the vocabulary words, that I have written. I just hope that, one way or another,something inside you will spark as you get to read each one of them. Here they go:

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The Fifth Mountain by Paulo CoelhoElijah to the Priest:
Do you see the Fifth Mountain? From whichever side you look, it appears different, though it is the same mountain. Thus it is with all of creation: many faces of the same God.

Commander to the Governor:
When we delay the harvest, the fruit rots. When we delay resolving problems, they continue to grow.

Elijah:
Love liberates.

Elijah to the Widow:
Learn something. At this moment, many people have stopped living. They do not become angry, nor cry out; they merely wait for time to pass. They did not accept the challenge of life, so life no longer challenges them. You are running the same risk; react, face life, but do not stop living.

Elijah about the Commander of the Army:
The greatest wisdom is blinded by the glare of vanity.

Elijah to the Widow:
It is not always easy to listen: in our prayers we always try to say where we have erred, and what we should like to happen to us. But the Lord already knows all of this, and sometimes asks us only to hear what the Universe is telling us. And be patient.

Elijah to the boy who fears to die:
That proves that you find joy in living. It’s normal to fear at certain moments.

Angel to Elijah:
The history of our ancestors seemeth to be full of the right men in the right places. Do not believe it: the Lord demandeth of people only that which is within the possibilities of each of them.

Angel to Elijah:
Though knowest that I am blind because mine eyes still retains the light of the Lord’s glory, I can perceive nothing else.

Elijah to a Woman:
If I stop to reflect on it, I’ll conclude I’m incapable of accomplishing my desire.

Elijah to the people of Akbar:
A child can always teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires.

Elijah about having a Name:
The story had been transmitted from generation to generation so that no one would ever forget: sometimes it was necessary to struggle with God. Every human being at some time had tragedy enter his life; it might be the destruction of a city, the death of a son, an unapproved accusation, a sickness that left one lame forever. At that moment, God challenged one to confront Him and to answer His question: “Why dost though cling fast to an existence so short and so filled with suffering? What is the meaning of thy struggle?

The man who did not know how to answer this question would resign himself, while another, one who sought a meaning of existence, feeling that God had been unjust, would challenge his own destiny. It was at this moment that fire of a different type descended from the heavens – not the fore that kills but the kind that tears down ancient walls and imparts to each human being his true possibilities. Cowards never allow their hearts to blaze with this fire; all they desire is for the changed situation to quickly return to what it was before, so they can go on living their lives and thinking in their customary way. The brave, however, set afire that which was old and, at the cost of great internal suffering, abandon everything, including God and continue onward.

Only those men and women with the sacred flame in their hearts had the courage to confront Him. And they alone knew the path back to His love, for they understood that tragedy was not punishment but challenge.

The essential point was this: to have a name. When Jacob had answered, God had baptized him Israel. Each one has a name from birth but must learn to baptize his life with the word he has chosen to give meaning to that life.

Elijah to the people of Akbar:
Make whatever decision you wish but never forget one thing: all of you are much better than you believed.Paulo Coelho

Elijah to the boy:
He [God] must have tried other means before discovering that we were not listening to Him. We were too accustomed to our lives and no longer read His words.

Elijah to to the boy:
Elijah: Sadness does not last forever when we walk in the direction of that which we always desired.
Boy: Is it always necessary to leave?
Elijah: It’s always necessary to know when the stage of one’s life has ended. If you stubbornly cling to it after the end has passed, you lose the joy and meaning of the rest. And you risk being shaken to your senses by God.
Boy: The Lord is stern.
Elijah: Only with those He has chosen.

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I’m not sure if I got the who-said-what-to-who parts right. Haha! Anyway, I hope you enjoyed reading them. I’ll try to post some more quotes when I get to finish more books on my list. *prepares the pen and highlighter then stared on the bookshelves choosing what to read next*.

But here’s something I would like you to think about. Please read the one where Elijah said something about having a name. In there Jacob was named Israel. Elijah chose Liberation as his name. One man in the book chose Wisdom. How about you, what would your name be? Please try to leave a comment if you can. 🙂

P.S. I love what the angel said about being blind. How I pray that I can be blind like him, focused on nothing but the glory of God. *sigh*

Does God Always Answer Our Prayers?

This is a question that mostly filled our minds when it comes to prayers. I remember discussing this same question with the young people in our Church. We were taught that God answers prayer with either a “Yes”, a “No” or a “Wait”. But when I read this devotional by A. W. Tozer (thanks to James for the influence), my whole perspective about God’s answer to my prayers changed. Read it below and tell me what you think about it.

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Does God always Answer Prayer?
by A.W. Tozer

CONTRARY TO POPULAR OPINION, the cultivation of a psychology of uncritical belief is not an unqualified good, and if carried too far it may be a positive evil. The whole world has been booby-trapped by the devil, and the deadliest trap of all is the religious one. Error never looks so innocent as when it is found in the sanctuary.

One field where harmless-looking but deadly traps appear in great profusion is the field of prayer. There are more sweet notions about prayer than could be contained in a large book, all of them wrong and all highly injurious to the souls of men.

I think of one such false notion that is found often in pleasant places consorting smilingly with other notions of unquestionable orthodoxy. It is that God always answers prayer.

This error appears among the saints as a kind of all-purpose philosophic therapy to prevent any disappointed Christian from suffering too great a shock when it becomes evident to him that his prayer expectations are not being fulfilled. It is explained that God always answers prayer, either by saying Yes or by saying No, or by substituting something else for the desired favor.

Now, it would be hard to invent a neater trick than this to save face for the petitioner whose requests have been rejected for non-obedience. Thus when a prayer is not answered he has but to smile brightly and explain, “God said No.” It is all so very comfortable. His wobbly faith is saved from confusion and his conscience is permitted to lie undisturbed. But I wonder if it is honest.

To receive an answer to prayer as the Bible uses the term and as Christians have understood it historically, two elements must be. present: (1) A clear-cut request made to God for a specific favor. (2) A clear-cut granting of that favor by God in answer to the request. There must be no semantic twisting, no changing of labels, no altering of the map during the journey to help the embarrassed tourist to find himself.

When we go to God with a request that He modify the existing situation for us, that is, that He answer prayer, there are two conditions that we must meet: (1) We must pray in the will of God and (2) we must be on what old-fashioned Christians often call “praying ground”; that is, we must be living lives pleasing to God.

It is futile to beg God to act contrary to His revealed purposes. To pray with confidence the petitioner must be certain that his request falls within the broad will of God for His people.

The second condition is also vitally important. God has not placed Himself under obligation to honor the requests of worldly, carnal or disobedient Christians. He hears and answers the prayers only of those who walk in His way. “Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight . . . . If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you” (I John 3:21, 22; John 15:7).

God wants us to pray and He wants to answer our prayers, but He makes our use of prayer as a privilege to commingle with His use of prayer as a discipline. To receive answers to prayer we must meet God’s terms. If we neglect His commandments our petitions will not be honored. He will alter situations only at the request of obedient and humble souls.

The God-always-answers-prayer sophistry leaves the praying man without discipline. By the exercise of this bit of smooth casuistry he ignores the necessity to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world, and actually takes God’s flat refusal to answer his prayer as the very answer itself. Of course such a man will not grow in holiness; he will never learn how to wrestle and wait; he will never know correction; he will not hear the voice of God calling him forward; he will never arrive at the place where he is morally and spiritually fit to have his prayers answered. His wrong philosophy has ruined him.

That is why I turn aside to expose the bit of bad theology upon which his bad philosophy is founded. The man who accepts it never knows where he stands; he never knows whether or not he has true faith, for if his request is not granted he avoids the implication by the simple dodge of declaring that God switched the whole thing around and gave him something else. He will not allow himself to shoot at a target, so he cannot tell how good or how bad a marksman he is.

Of certain persons James says plainly: “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” From that brief sentence we may learn that God refuses some requests because they who make them are not morally worthy to receive the answer. But this means nothing to the one who has been seduced into the belief that God always answers prayer. When such a man asks and receives not he passes his hand over the hat and comes up with the answer in some other form. One thing he clings to with great tenacity: God never turns anyone away, but invariably grants every request.

The truth is that God always answers the prayer that accords with His will as revealed in the Scriptures, provided the one who prays is obedient and trustful. Further than this we dare not go.

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This was taken from his book “Man: The Dwelling Place of God“. For more devotionals from this book click here.

Rambling Update…

I’m back.

It’s almost a month since my last post. A lot of things have happened in those few weeks and the chances to write long posts about them just passed me by. Right now I just want to make some updates. Wherever this may take me I don’t care. Just a few words..I guess..Hehe.

I didn’t attend the Care Group today. I have cough that seems to gain victory in throwing off my lungs and throat to Siberia. I hope it will be gone soon. It’s quite tiring wiping out droplets of saliva on my computer monitor. Gross..

Last week our family went to a cousin’s wake. He died of tuberculosis at the age of 42 leaving his wife and two cute little sons. Usually, during a death in the family or a friend, a person has that cathartic moment to think about his life and how he is living it. Realizations, even resolutions, kick in and give you a new view of your own life and how you should live the following days until the day you die. But, while I was there with my cousins, I realized something that is so far from the aforementioned situation. I thought about our family’s (on the father’s side) fondness to gambling. They said that gambling runs in our blood. From the grandparents to the young ones, from the people before us up to, hopefully not, the generations to follow. While watching my cousins having a grand time that night, I realized that we are so doomed. Our children are cursed even before they are born. Parents are wholeheartedly supporting their children, who’s ages range from eight to eighteen, to bet with the little money they got. It’s not an issue of gambling, or having a good time, it is about stewardship. Then, suddenly, a huge boulder fell from above to knock me down. Who am I to speak about stewardship? I realized that, most of the time, my money are all spent to the single centavo only three days after the payday. Lol! I’m here blabbering about my ancestor’s gambling legacy when I have my own “gambling” going on with my own money at stake. One thing is for sure though. We seriously need help. The help that will redeem my family from this bondage. The help that can only be found from the grace of God and the blood of Jesus Christ. No one’s excempted..not even me..

Another thing. Our church is undergoing a reorganization of all the key positions. It turned out they have given me a position that, I think, is too much for me. Starting September, I will be the second in command to our pastor. This appointment is so overwhelming, in the scary sense of the word. I can say that I didn’t do well as a youth leader (that was my previous position). And this thing that they have given me is much much bigger than that. A friend told me that I shouldn’t have my evaluation based on my previous performance, it’s like putting a limitation on what God can do with my life at present. It is true, it doesn’t matter how young or experienced I am to have this position. As long as He called me to do this, I should just trust and obey. Although I’m thinking I haven’t received a clear confirmation whether God has really called me for this or not. Please include me in your prayers, that I will have a clear picture of what He really wills for me in this matter.

Also, I listened to Joshua Harris (author of I Kissed Dating Goodbye and Boy Meets Girl) give a sermon on the The Cost of Discipleship. I got convicted by it, that if I really want to follow God, I have to free myself from extra baggages, whatever they are. They can be relationships, ambitions, desires, possessions, anything. No, everything. I’m still having a hard time freeing myself from those baggages. It is hard identifying what they are and it is much harder trying to give them up. But why settle for crumbs when He has prepared a great feast in front of us? He even promised that everything will be given to us if we will just seek Him first.

Be still… Be still…