After writing this article yesterday, I considered putting off publishing it as I thought it might not really be necessary. But as I saw the news last night and after hearing my mother’s account of what transpired in school where she’s a professor, and the children’s own account of what was happening in their own school, I realized that the Lord’s message which He gave me the other night would have to go out.
The other night in the aftermath of Manny Pacquiao’s bout with Juan Manuel Marquez, the Lord gave me a message confirming what I have suspected as the reason for the great Filipino boxer’s defeat.
I was already drifting to sleep just after I prayed when the Lord stirred me awake as I heard “Manny Pacquiao” and spontaneously saw the end of the fight earlier in the day. Before I could even process the thought I began to hear an old song in my native dialect which I could only remember as one from the 70’s. As soon as I heard the song, I quickly forgot it but remembered the name of the artist. Tried as I might to recall the song even as I am writing this, I could not. So I thought that the message was in the name of the artist. His name is Victor Wood. While I was pondering on the connection between Manny Pacquiao and the name Victor Wood, I saw my uncle and my husband quickly and had their names on my lips; my uncle is Suceso and my husband is Joseph. Then I heard in my spirit, “The message is in the names.” I wrote down the names and prayed and went to sleep. When I woke up in the morning I had this message in my heart:
Manny Pacquiao is a victor of something made of wood; his victories that made him an icon of success in this world were all made of wood and have no eternal value and won’t stand when tested with fire. His true success is not in the “boxing titles and belts” that he earned. True success will come by the way of the pit in the same manner that Joseph earned his. Worldly defeat is spiritual victory for him who loves God and is called for His purpose. Down at the feet of Jesus is the way up in the Kingdom of the Father of which he became a citizen when he made Him his Lord and Savior. As he chose to follow the Lord the great achievements he has earned now count for nothing in view of what the Lord has given him – eternal life. As he surrendered his life to the Lord Jesus he must take up his cross and go where the Shepherd leads him, do what the Master says he must do. He must decrease as the Lord Jesus Christ increases in his life.
12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily,[a] and follow Me. 24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. 25 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
Manny Pacquiao’s defeat by knockout stunned the world especially the Philippines. Although the boxer graciously accepted his defeat, the Filipinos particularly the religious Roman Catholics, could hardly forget and let go. They were quick to condemn including his devout mother that his loss was due to his ”change of religion.” Wikipedia was also quick to update to include this story:
“Pacquiao was a devout Roman Catholic. Within the ring, he frequently makes the sign of the cross and every time he comes back from a successful fight abroad, he attends a thanksgiving Mass in Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila to kneel and pray. Following his defeat by Juan Manuel Márquez, his mother condemned him leaving the Catholic church. Pastor Jeric Soriano, Pacquiao’s spiritual adviser, comes from the Alabang New Life Christian Center in Muntinlupa. ” (See here).
The great boxer lost two games in a row this year, first with Timothy Bradley, then this match with Juan Manuel Marquez.
According to my father’s story, (he was attending my uncle’s birthday party during the fight) when Manny fell, one relative quickly commented that Manny’s defeat was bad karma because of his change of faith, from being a Roman Catholic to being ‘born-again.’ Another relative butted in that it isn’t right to leave the religion which we received from our ancestors. A news anchor said that he observed that in Manny’s two latest fights he no longer said the rosary and didn’t do the sign of the cross and so that could be the reason for the defeat. This story continues that perhaps his defeat was because he displeased God for changing his religion. And as I mentioned above, my mother heard similar comments in school among students and teachers. They considered Manny Pacquiao as one deserving the loss as punishment for his leaving the Roman Catholic Church. My children and nephews came home from school with their own stories about the same comments among grade school kids and teachers. My son answered a comment on Facebook that it was the Lord’s will and not punishment because He has better plans for Manny who is now a ‘born-again Christian.’
I believe it is for this reason that the Father gave me the message above. As a former Roman Catholic myself and now a believer and disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, I am convinced that it was the Father’s will that Manny would be defeated for His good reason and purpose, as it was also the Father’s will that he won all those victories making him the most awarded boxer ever.
Those who are watching Manny Pacquiao’s activities cannot fail to see that he is praying and worshiping, reading the Bible and sharing his faith. So, the connection made between his new faith and his boxing performances has valid ground. The interpretation, however, is not correct.
Manny Pacquiao didn’t find a new religion. What he found or what found Him is the reality of the Savior Jesus. What he received is not religion but the person, the Lord Jesus Christ who gave His life for the world that they who receive Him will have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
18 “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
Manny Pacquiao’s loss because he turned his life unto the Lord Jesus is not meant to harm him but to build him up inwardly; to mold him to make him fit for the Kingdom. His defeat in the Ring in the full view of the world is spiritual victory for the Lord Jesus Christ in Manny’s life. The way of success in God’s Kingdom is the way of the cross of the Messiah. The devil thought that he defeated the Lord Jesus when He was crucified only to be shocked when the great King rose from the dead and destroyed his stronghold in the lives of many including Manny Pacquiao, who received and put their trust in Him. The Lord is breaking the great boxer through defeats in the thing that made him great, rich and famous in this world that he will be conformed into the likeness of his Savior and Lord to whom he gave his life. The brokenness is to make him great in God’s eyes that he will be fit for the higher call, higher task of being a witness for the Lord Jesus to the lost world. To be great in God’s Kingdom is to be nothing in and for this world.
Manny Pacquiao’s first defeat this year was against Timothy Bradley. Though the result could be gleaned as incidental as it was controversial, I believe that in the spiritual realm it was not; and the boxer’s reaction on the controversial result of his fight with Bradley was notable and highly commendable. The world saw the inner resolve which Manny Pacquiao demonstrated in spite of the adverse reaction of the crowd as the result was announced. In the same way he demonstrated such gentleness of attitude in the wake of his loss with Juan Manuel Marquez. This character that Manny Pacquiao has manifested stands as witness to the inner peace he has found in his Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. He has actually given a powerful testimony to the world that he is not only a boxing champion who experienced defeat, but a real champion for the Lord for not becoming bitter and resentful over the loss of a worldly crown. Taken from the above news link, this is what Manny was quoted saying:
“First and foremost I would like to thank God for keeping Juan Manuel Marquez and me safe during our fight on Saturday night. I want to congratulate Juan Manuel. I have no excuses. It was a good fight and he deserved the victory. I think boxing fans who watched us were winners, too.
“To all my fans, I would like to thank you for your prayers and assure you that I am fine. I am looking forward to a nice rest and then I will be back to fight. On behalf of Jinkee and our family we would like to wish everyone a joyous Christmas and a happy and healthy new year.”
For Manny Pacquiao
You have stood the test though it was not easy. You must keep standing in spite of the fall and the negative rumors in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, Yeshua HaMashiach. You are one of those whom the Lord has chosen to arise in these last days to be a powerful witness for Him to bring many to the Kingdom. The Father may require you to lay down all your crowns for Him for the task that He has determined for you to do. You must be ready and willing to give up the earthly crowns for the heavenly and eternal crowns which are far better than what you already have. Please note that your name Emmanuel is by no means an accident.
11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.
Love in Yeshua,