Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Seeds and other Small Things

"The Kingdom if God is like yeast which a woman took to knead into three measures of flour until a whole mass of dough began to rise." 
Luke 13:21

Jesus liked to compare His Kingdom to small things, yeast, and seeds. Apparently there is not much fanfare or big signs point to His Kingdom. Yeast and seeds, especially the tiny mustard seed, are so small and insignificant. It reminds me of Mother Teresa who often compared herself to a little pencil.  "I'm just a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world." "I am a little pencil in God's hands. He does the thinking. He does the writing. He does everything and sometimes it is really hard because it is a broken pencil and He has to sharpen it a little more."

Jesus started with a little band of insignificant men and women like us. They weren't very intelligent. They didn't have Master's degrees from important schools. They weren't eloquent speakers at the start. They weren't even very brave. But just like a tiny seed which grows in the right soil, and yeast which makes dough rise, we too can contribute our gifts and talents, no matter how little, for God to use in the growth of His Kingdom. How wonderful if God would say to me, at the end of my life here on earth, that I was good seed, a usable pencil, living yeast! 

Monday, October 24, 2016

Set Free!

"...she was badly stooped..." Luke 13:11
In Luke 13, we meet a woman who was bent completely forward and utterly unable to straighten up. She had been like this for 18 years, and scripture tells us, her infirmity was caused by a bad spirit. Jesus, when He saw her, said, "Woman, you are set free!" He laid His hands on her and she was instantly healed. 

"Anahwim", the meditation book I read everyday, says, "This woman represents us all. God has made us for higher things, but sin cripples us and keeps us focused on what is earthly. The whole human family is 'badly stooped' by the burden of sin. Our perceptions are distorted and our wills are weakened."

Indeed, many of us have damaged personalities, addictions difficult to get rid of, are messed up, rebellious, feeling rejected, etc etc. We need to straighten up. We need to dig into God's Word because only God and His Word can set us free. Joyce Meyer, the well known speaker, revealed that she was raped by her father more than 200 times until she was 18 years old. She never felt safe. He even wanted her to bring her classmates home for him to abuse!  Can you imagine how warped her personality became? But she was freed because she really dug into the Word of God, believed in it and applied it to her life. If there's anything we need to be freed from, to be healed from, never give up. Always know that we are loved unconditionally, and nothing is impossible with God! 

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Lord, have Mercy!

"God, be merciful to me, a sinner!" Luke 18:13
I doubt if many of us say this prayer the tax collector prayed, and that Jesus used as an example of a good prayer. I like reading stories of saints, and it is likely that a good number of them pleaded with God for mercy when they realized they were sinners. 

There's Saint Augustine who sired an illegitimate son with his long time mistress. He left her in the hopes of marrying an heiress. Saint Callixtus was a world class thief who became a Pope! Then there's Saint Olga who out of revenge buried people alive or burned them. Her grandson St. Vladimir was bloodthirsty and offered human sacrifices. Saint Mary of Egypt was a prostitute who seduced all the crew and pilgrims on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Blessed Bartolo Longo who started out as a satanic priest. 
But once they realized the enormity of their sin, they all turned to God, asked for mercy and forgiveness and changed their lives. Sometimes it's harder for us, who are not murderers or prostitutes, to realize how sin alienates us from our Father. Sin is sin, no matter how big or small. A red spot in an immaculate wedding gown can be seen from afar and will bother the bride. Lord, have mercy, for I am a sinner! 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Bearing Fruit!

"Perhaps it will bear fruit..." Luke 13:9
Yesterday my friends Lyan and Honeylou were telling me about Dodong Cacanando. He used to be an executive with HP until he resigned in 1998 after he received a word from God to start farming. Now he owns and manages Moriah Farms in Bukidnon. After using the Bible as his business manual, he turned the inhospitable soil into a thriving farm and has written 2 books about what he has learned about fruitfulness. I am eager to read his books to know more about what he has discovered through the years. He uses the plant as a model on how to be more fruitful in life, and profitable in business. He says that if we want to be fruitful, we shouldn't focus on the fruit which is a by-product of a healthy, purposeful life, in the same way that a business owner like me should not focus on the profit. 
In Luke 13, we find a man who is looking for fruit in his fig tree. Finding none, he wants it cut down. The gardener says that he will take care of it first, put fertilizer and see if it will bear fruit. If it still does not bear fruit, then he will cut it. Lord, thank You for Your patience with me! May I use the gifts You have given me, and bear fruit to bless others! 

Friday, October 21, 2016


"...be patient, bearing with one another in love." Ephesians 4:2

To be a powerful, effective Christian, we just need to start with this reminder from Saint Paul to the Ephesians. "Be patient! Be forbearing." Carry one another's burdens. Listen to others with concern and empathy. Exhibit self-control in all situations. 

"You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, to work by working, and just so, you learn to love by loving. All those who think to learn in any other way deceive themselves."
--St. Francis de Sales

Every day we are given opportunities to learn how to love more perfectly. We need to learn because love is the currency in heaven! 

Thursday, October 20, 2016


"That is why I kneel before the Father..." Ephesians 3:14

How immensely blessed the Ephesians were! Saint Paul prayed for them, knelt down before God for them. So that what? So that "the Father would bestow gifts upon them in keeping with the riches of His glory." This was Saint Paul's prayer, which we can also pray for ourselves and others: "May God strengthen you inwardly through the workings of His Spirit. May Christ dwell in your hearts through faith, and may charity be the root and foundation of your life. May you be able to grasp fully, the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ's love, and experience this love which surpasses all knowledge, so that you may attain to the fullness of God Himself."

What an important prayer this is, that we know, really know, deep in our being how God loves us, how He values us, how precious we are to Him. This is the very foundation of our life in Christ. And this is what the enemy seeks to destroy, our self image, the true knowledge of who we are. It is such a pity that sometimes we get bombarded with messages that we are not worthy, that we won't amount to much, that we are not enough. My sister tutors street children and she has to teach the parents first not to destroy the children's confidence by repeating again and again that they are not intelligent! The enemy finds all sorts of ways to deceive us about who we are. Let's go back to our Father's Word and reclaim our inheritance as God's precious sons and daughters! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

WOYWW: Unfathomable Riches!

I have been busy
making these canvas collages.

I cut up an old sweater
and used the flowers and beads
in it to make these flowers. 

Now I am embroidering 
the stems and leaves with
crochet thread. 

"To me, the least of all believers, was given the grace to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ..." Ephesians 3:8

I like pondering that phrase, "unfathomable riches". In the Amplified Bible, we find "unending, boundless, incalculable and exhaustless riches, wealth, treasure of Christ which no human being could have searched out". When men find the pearl of great price, they sell everything they have to buy it and make it their own. No wonder many men and women have given their lives when they find out God's secret plan to make us co-heirs with Christ and sharers of the promises of God. Today is the feast day of 8 Jesuit missionaries who were martyred in North America. Saint John de Bréveuf was tortured by the native tribes he and his companions were trying to evangelize. He was "baptized" in boiling water, mutilated and scalped. The Iroquois also drank his blood as they wanted to 'capture' his courage! The Mohawk beat St. Isaac Jogues with sticks, tore out his fingernails, then gnawed the ends of his fingers until finger bones were visible. He managed to escape but he returned to the Mohawks, only to be captured and cruelly tortured again. Before he died, Saint Isaac proclaimed, "These tortures are great, but God is greater."
Today, we usually do not have to endure torture and suffering to possess the unfathomable riches Saint Paul is talking about. But each of us has our own mission, using the gifts and resources God gives us. Lord, may I be willing to do whatever it takes, big or small, to follow You, to do Your will, and make You visible in this world through my words and deeds. 

Joining the lovely Julia Dunnit for a 
peek at desks and projects!

I find a lot of inspiration
visiting my friends here:


Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Saint Luke the Evangelist

"The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few..." Luke 10:2
Today, October 18, is the feast day of Saint Luke the evangelist. In the letter to the Colossians, Saint Paul called him the "beloved physician". Luke is an excellent historian and story teller. He wrote both the Gospel of Saint Luke and the Book of Acts and he is the only Gentile to have contributed to the Bible. There are many stories in his gospel that are not found in the other three, like the Parable of the Good Samaritan, and the Prodigal Son. Luke also wrote about Jesus' mother Mary, the Annunciation, and her visit to her cousin Elizabeth. In Saint Paul's letter to Timothy, Paul writes, "I have no one with me but Luke." This letter was written during Paul's 2nd and final imprisonment in Rome, when he was in bonds, closely guarded and had few visitors. Luke had accompanied Paul on his missionary journeys and it is very likely that he took care of Paul when he was beaten and stoned, and very nearly drowned. 
It is said that Saint Luke may have been a slave. But he used all his gifts to further the spread of the gospel. Lord, the harvest is plentiful. May each of us do our part, and make use of our gifts, so that we can be evangelizers like Saint Luke, laborers in Your vineyard. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Keep Your Hands Up!

"As long as Moses kept his hands raised up, Israel had the better of the fight, but when he let his hands rest, Amalek had the better of the fight." Exodus 17:11

Almost all the Catholic readings for today are about prayer. Exodus 17:8-13 is about how Israel won the war against Amalek by keeping Moses' hands up. When Moses grew tired, Aaron and Hur both held up Moses' arms so his arms remained raised.

Psalm 121 declares that our help is from the Lord who made heaven and earth, and how He will guard us from evil. Luke 18:1-8 is about the parable of the widow who got the corrupt judge to give her justice because of her persistence. 
We face many challenges these days, and instead of complaining and grumbling, we should look to the Lord who neither slumbers nor sleeps. We may not see our enemy, like Israel saw Amalek who waged war against them, but we can be sure that there are forces arrayed against us. Our country, our Churches, our neighborhoods, our children, we are all in the line of fire. There is only one sure way to win against this enemy. We need to keep our hands up, and we need to be persistent. "Will not God then do justice to His chosen who call out to Him day and night?" Jesus promised in Luke 18:7.

Lord, thank You for Your many promises in Your Word. We look to You and keep our hands raised, for You our are help. Thank You for guarding our coming and our going, both now and forever. 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Glorious Inheritance !

"May He enlighten your innermost vision, the eyes of your heart, that you may know the great hope of His calling, the wealth of glorious heritage to be distributed among the members of the church, and the immeasurable greatness of His power in us who believe." Ephesians 1:18-19
What if we have this amazing inheritance, a huge mansion and a prosperous vineyard in Reims, and other big business concerns running by itself prosperously, but we didn't know about it? We would be like that old man in New York's Central Park, found dead on a park bench. When someone searched his pockets to find some clue of his identity, they also found thousands of dollars worth of stale checks in his name. He probably didn't know how to encash it. 
We do have an inheritance, a glorious inheritance! Saint Paul's prayer is that we who believe would be able to see it, even now, here on earth. Faith, in Hebrews 11:1, is defined as the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Lord, open my eyes that I may see, the wonderful gifts You have for me!!! 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Fear Nothing!

"Fear nothing, then. You are worth more than a flock of sparrows." Luke 12:7

Is it possible? That we can live without fear and anxiety? That we don't have to worry about the future, our children, extrajudicial killings or global warming?!! I have to confess that I do have to deal with fears and anxieties and that's why I pray. Fears and anxieties prod me to seek out the God I know who can deal with ALL THINGS. We have an enemy who wants us to live thinking about evil forebodings that could happen. He wants to keep us trapped and paralyzed. Instead of thinking of the bad things that can happen, what should we do? 

We should expect good things to happen in our life. We should expect miracles. After all, we have God walking with us every day, every second. He said "I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous!" Dt. 31:6 He also said He answers prayer. In Romans 12:12, we are advised by Saint Paul to rejoice in hope, be patient and persevering in trials, and to be devoted to prayer. 

Lord, may I not always focus on problems, but instead focus my eyes on You. May I be violent in casting away worry and anxiety and purposely expect You to bring goodness and love into my life every single day. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

WOYWW: The Fruit of the Spirit

I have been quite delinquent 
with my planner.
Here I am adding stuff to 
blank pages.

It's fun but quite time consuming!
I haven't even finished
with September yet! 
"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patient endurance, kindness, generosity, faith, self-control and chastity." Galatians 5:22
Sometimes I am not a nice person. I can be irritable on the phone especially with someone selling me something in this very perky voice as if I have all the time in the world to listen. I can flare up with my sister or my niece or an employee at work. Self-control, that's what I need. And love, a lot of it. Self-control and love are like bookends for the fruits of the Spirit. Without both, we can't be patient and kind and generous and peaceful... 

God gives us these fruit in seed form. They need to grow in us and we need to be connected to Him in order for it to grow. God puts us in situations every day so that He can develop our character into the character of Jesus. It's going to take a long time before I become really patient and loving and joyful all the time without fail, but guess what? God is our gardener and He is very patient! He will prune us and take care of us and love us into the image of His Son. I won't give up on me because I know God won't! He is committed to finish what He started in me! 

Friday, October 07, 2016

Children of Abraham

"Realize it is those who have faith who are children of Abraham." Letter of Saint Paul to the Galatians 3:7
Imagine going to heaven and meeting Father Abraham! He must be a gigantic figure of a man! God rewarded him for his extraordinary, unwavering belief in His power and His promises. At first God asked Abraham to leave all that was familiar to go on a journey, an adventure with Him to a place Abraham knew nothing about. Uncharted territory. Much like most of our future. Are we, like Abraham, willing to risk all we have to go on an adventure with God? I am sure, like Abraham, the rewards will be out of this world!

Then God asked Abraham to sacrifice  his only son. What was in Abraham's mind, I wonder? What goes through our mind when God asks difficult things of us? Abraham did not know that God Himself would sacrifice His only begotten , beloved Son in the future. God never asks us to do things He isn't willing to do and more.  The amazing thing is without knowing that, Abraham was willing to sacrifice Isaac. 

Lord, may I have a living, working faith like my father Abraham! May I, like him, have an unwavering belief and trust in You and Your Word! 

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Ask and You shall Receive...

"Ask and you shall receive..." Luke 11:9
There have been many things I have asked from God that I received answers to. Sometimes the answer came right away, other times it took longer. And sometimes the answer was no. It is very much like what happens with our children. Sometimes we give them what they ask for. Other times we make them wait until the right time. Then there are times we put our foot down and say, "No way!" In the same way we want the absolute best for our children, God wants the best for us wholeheartedly and without question. 

Sometimes we pray about little things, like wanting to find something that's lost. A lot of times we pray about more important life changing heart breaking situations like a child who is into drugs, a marriage that needs restoration, financial debt, etc. We have to come before God knowing that nothing is bigger than Him. We should not leave our lives to chance. We should hem our marriage, our children, our work, our communities, our country, in prayer. 

I'm no expert but like everything in life, if we want to be good and effective in something, we have to practice, practice, practice. Lord, may my heart be right before You. Show me how to pray, how to share the burdens of my soul, and how to be grateful and recognize whatever way You choose to answer my prayers. 

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

WOYWW: Only You!

"Lord, teach us to pray..." Luke 11:1

Jews are supposed to pray three times a day and they have a special prayer book called a Siddur which contains the set orders of daily prayers. Readings from the Torah, the  writings of Moses and the Nevi'im, writings of the Prophets, form part of their prayer book. So I think it is natural to conclude that the disciples had a reasonable idea of how to pray to God. But they saw something in how Jesus prayed that made them long to pray the way He did. 

They watched Jesus pray many times. They saw how close He was to the Father, and they wanted that for themselves. WE should want that for ourselves! We should always want to grow in our relationship with our Father. Brother Lawrence wrote in "The Practice of the Presence of God" that he was united with God during the day as he went about his work of cleaning the floor and washing the dishes. There are many ways to practice the presence of God in the course of our day. We just have to 'mind' He is there, and not just there during our morning or evening prayers. 
Lord, teach us to pray. Teach us to grow closer to You. Teach us not to forget You when we are busy. Teach us to carve some time out of our day to be with You, and only You. 

Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Only One Thing

"One thing only is required..." Luke 10:42
Growing up, having guests in our home was a big thing and stressed my mother out.  In contrast, my husband is quite comfortable to have guests visit even when we had no food. I remember when we were newly married, my husband brought someone home to share a meal with us. I was aghast because there was little to serve. What I remember was serving potato bread and little else. Luigi was confident enough to know our guest came for the company and not the meal. 

In the amusing story of Martha and Mary, we see how different the sisters were from each other. Martha was the one stressed out, preparing the meal for Jesus and His disciples. I can certainly relate to her! Obviously Jesus and the disciples were hungry and tired after walking all day, and were in need of sustenance. Mary, obviously the younger sister, sat at Jesus' feet, enrapt at what Jesus was saying. Perhaps Martha had been giving subtle signals to Mary to help her which Mary ignored, and then finally, she turns to Jesus. "Lord, doesn't it seem unfair to You that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me!" 

Uh oh! She lets her frustration and resentment show but she does not get the response she expects. Jesus gently rebukes her and I can see His kind eyes as He says, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and upset about many things; only one thing is required. Mary has chosen the better portion and she shall not be deprived of it." 

Lord, may I always choose the better portion. May I not be distracted from the many things and concerns of this world. May I get to know You and Your heart, and sit at Your feet like Mary, eager to learn what You want to teach me!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

WOYWW: Trusting God

"God is wise in heart and mighty in strength; who has withstood Him and remained unscathed?" Job 9:4

Philippine President Duterte recently challenged the existence of God by asking, "When a one year old baby is taken from a mother's arms, brought under a jeep, to be raped and killed, where is God?" 

He is not the only one to ask why a good God allows rape, war, cancer, divorce, drought, fire, etc. Many a Christian have become atheist because of tackling this age old question of where God is in the midst of suffering. God is good. God is just. And He has also chosen to give man free will to choose to follow His ways or to go against it. Isn't it astounding that the Almighty God allows the President, or anyone at all, to question His existence, to challenge Him, or to shake a fist at Him?
But for those who choose to trust Him, He reserves the greatest treasures. Joy Tan-Chi Mendoza, in her book, "When a Good God Allows Rape" takes us with her on her difficult journey of healing and restoration. When she was merely 15 years old, armed men broke into their home while her parents were in a Bible Study. She and her younger siblings were tied up, while the men ransacked their home. The men also took turns raping Joy and her friends. 

"I came to God in desperation. My only option was to trust Him. My family and I made a faith-decision to believe there was a purpose and a reason for allowing something so horrifying," Joy shared. 20 years have passed and she has inspired and helped many through their own pains and sufferings. She is now married to Edric Mendoza, a wonderful man who serves the Lord generously, and they have 5 children she homeschools. 

Lord, when we go through difficult times, may we always trust in You and know You walk with us. May we not waver in our faith, knowing You always have a reason and a purpose for what happens to us. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Anger plus D equals Danger!

"Lord, should we order down fire from heaven to burn them up?" Luke 9:54
Jesus had two disciples 
by the name of James and John. They were brothers and Jesus had a special nickname for them, "Boanerges, which means Sons of Thunder" (Mark 3:17). They were aptly named for they had some thunder-like qualities like here in the 9th chapter of Luke, when they were angry at the Samaritans and wanted to destroy them with fire for a rebuff they had shown to Jesus. 
What was Jesus' reaction? He reprimanded them for their anger, their impetuosity. 

There are times when I feel so entitled that I get angry at perceived slights. One time I was even brought to the Barangay by our employee because I got so indignant. Another time a supplier said, "You weren't a Christian then, were you?" referring to the first time he came to see me! 

Just add the letter D to anger and it becomes danger. There's a well known story of a woman who said to Billy Sunday, a famous preacher, "There's nothing wrong if I lose my temper. I blow up and it's all over!" Mr. Sunday retorted, "So does a shotgun and look at the damage it leaves behind!" 

Lord, when I am angry, may I go to You first. May I tell you all my frustrations like David in the Psalms, so You can help me forgive whoever needs forgiving, even if it is myself. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

WOYWW: Nothing!

Starting out with Matthias Schoenaerts.
Did not know who he was before,
then I spent the past 4 days in bed 
with a bad cough and
came across this period piece,
"A Little Chaos".
It stars him and Kate Winslet
and is about a little part of the garden
of Versailles.

"He made Himself nothing..." Philippians2:7
How can we wrap our minds about this? That Jesus, omnipotent, mighty, eternal God of heaven and earth and all the universes that be, made Himself nothing? Why? How? When we, who are nothing but mud, cling to our entitlements, fight for all the rights we think we should have, and grasp for any power we can claim. Will we ever understand? 

Isn't God's way like that novel of Lewis Carroll, "Through the Looking Glass", where everything was upside down and when you moved forward, you went backwards. Jesus taught that to be great, we had to be last, we had to serve. It is in giving that we receive, and the more we give, the more we will have. But not money, or riches or fame, which are completely worthless as heaven's currency. To understand God's economy, we have to throw away what we know of how the world's finances are run! And if we want to be of any consequence in heaven, we have to follow the path of Jesus. Emptying ourselves of pride, selfishness, self-aggrandizement, and arrogance. 

Lord, help us to embrace Your Word, no matter how hard. Help us to be humble in serving, and more generous, especially with people who cannot repay us.