Wednesday, August 16, 2017

WOYWW: In Their Midst

I am still sewing these little purses. Yesterday, I gave one away and called it a "Prayer Pocket" to put prayers in. 

"Where two or three are gathered in My name, there am I in their midst." 
Matthew 18:20

It's good to be part of a community, to be among people who come together to pray, read the Bible, to share, and to serve the Lord. Jesus' promise is He will be among us when we gather together. We may not see Him sitting at our prayer meetings or churches, but He is there. 

In our community, we regularly pray for each other. Prayer requests are passed on through texts and viber and we have seen many answers to prayer. Whether it be prayers for healing, financial needs, or conversions, we are sure that our brothers and sisters stand in the gap for us when we need intercession. 

Today, together with many other brothers and sisters, I am praying for a brother who will undergo a heart bypass later. Jesus, we stand together in Your name, in confidence, knowing You stand with us. Be with Glenn today, and his doctors. Send Your powerful Holy Spirit to guide the hands that will operate on Glenn. Along with my brothers and sisters, we pray for a successful operation that will restore normal blood flow and clear all blocked arteries. We are grateful Lord that You will answer our prayers! 

Joining the lovely Julia Dunnit for a 
peek at desks and projects!
I find a lot of inspiration
visiting my friends here:


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Blessed and Rejoicing

"Blessed are you who believed..." 
Luke 1:45

There are many passages to reflect on in Mary's Magnificat, the song about how God fulfilled His promise to Mary and to His people throughout generations and generations. Indeed Mary, the mother of Jesus would have plenty to ponder but she chose instead to focus on God and His mighty deeds. She is blessed because she trusted that God's words spoken through an angel would be fulfilled. She is blessed because she has not seen the fulfillment of God's promise but she is already proclaiming, confessing, that all ages to come shall call her blessed. It's like she has a bubbling brook of joy gushing forth from her being. She cannot help it. She has to thank God and say, yes, You have done great things for me!

How about us? What do we think about? Do we spend most of our time stewing over hurts? Do we go over and over again the times people have said mean things to us? Do we spend more times complaining about our problems and challenges and too little time focusing on what God has done and will do in our life? There is a fountain of joy waiting to gush forth from us if only we seek to dwell by God's side and not wallow in the squatter's hut. What are the amazing things our Father has in store for us? Like Mary, let us meditate on that! 

Monday, August 14, 2017

What does God Ask?

"What does the Lord ask of you?" Deuteronomy 10:12

What does God ask of us? He asks that we fear Him, follow His ways exactly, love and serve Him with all our heart and all our soul, and keep His commandments. Whew! That's a whole lot! How can we love someone we do not know? How can we follow what He wants us to do if we know zilch about Him and His ways? Many of us grew up in a Christian home, perhaps even went to church regularly with our parents, but we do not really know Jesus. We have ideas about him, culled from what our mother said, what our classmates did, what we learned in Sunday school or Bible class maybe. But if we do not have a personal experience of God answering our prayers and God proving the Scriptures we read true, we will just have a vague notion of Him. 

I am reading "Miraculous Movements" by Jerry Trousdale, about how hundreds of thousands of Muslims are falling in love with Jesus in Africa. If Muslims read the Qur'an, they will get to know about Jesus, because He and Mary are mentioned many times. But it is only when they are called by Jesus in a dream, vision or miracle, when they experience transformation, and see how entire communities are being changed that they have a strong desire to follow and obey God. 

Lord, may we get to know You more and more. May our desire to follow and obey You come from our confidence, faith and trust in You and Your Word. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

A Still Small Voice

"...but the Lord was not in the earthquake." 1 Kings 19:11

Sometimes we expect God to speak with thunder and lightning, with a booming voice, in amazing circumstances. Here, Elijah, one of the great prophets who did many miracles in God's name, was waiting for the Lord to pass by him. God was not in the strong wind rending the mountains and breaking rocks. Neither was he in the earthquake. Next came a holocaust, but God was not there either. 

After the fire, there was the sound of a gentle blowing, a still small voice, a whisper. When Elijah heard this, he pulled his cloak over his face and stood at the cave entrance. How can we hear God if we do not take the time to keep still some time during the day? He has to compete with all the noise around us. Problems clamoring for attention. Tasks to be finished. The TV blaring. Facebook luring hours of our time from us with its telenovela news bits and funny posts. How can God rival all that cacophony if He chooses to be a gentle whisper? 

We have to choose Him. Like Elijah who listened for Him, we have to make space and time, or lose Him and His message to us every day. Wouldn't it be devastating if God wanted to be with us, listen to us, speak to us, every day, and we were too busy to stop for even a moment?

Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Shema

"Hear O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord Your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. 

These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, and when you lie down, and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates." Deuteronomy 6:4-8

This is the Shema, the central prayer of every Jew's prayer book, and the first prayer that each Jewish child learns. It is so important that Orthodox Jews pronounce each syllable very carefully when reciting this once in the morning, and then again in the evening. It is traditionally the last words a Jew recites on earth. 

They put the first two parts of the Shema inside a mezuzah and hang it beside their door in obedience to Dt. 6:8. But more than hanging a mezuzah outside our door, or hanging from our wrists, God wants His words in our hearts. Impressed, penetrated, engraved, inscribed, imprinted, carved. 

How do we do this? I guess we look at how the Colorado River carved the Grand Canyon beginning 5-6 million years ago, slowly but surely. Just as a hard mountain can be eroded by water, our hearts can be imprinted with God's Word if we open the Bible every day and read it, even a little at a time! And just as God sees the majestic Canyon and His heart swells with its beauty, God will be pleased with a heart branded with His Word. "It is very good!" He will  declare. 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Follow in Jesus' Footsteps

"If a man wishes to come after me, he must deny his very self, take up his cross, and begin to follow in my footsteps." 
Matthew 16:24

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Claire of Assisi. What an amazing young woman she was! She was beautiful and of a wealthy family. They lived in a palace in Assisi and owned a castle on the slope of Mount Subasio. Claire was probably used to clothes of embroidered rich silk from the clothes shop of Saint Francis' father. But she rejected her pampered lifestyle to take up the cross of Jesus.  Even when she was young, she prayed with dedication and devotion. 
She was only 18 years old when she heard St. Francis preach during a Lenten service. After that, she asked him to help her leave her father's home and devote the rest of her life serving God. She lived in poverty for the rest of her life, and other young ladies would join her "Order of the Poor Ladies of San Damiano". They wore no shoes, ate no meat, slept on the ground, and lived like the poor, but in silence most of the time, praying and working. 

What would provoke a young woman to voluntarily leave a comfortable life for a life of deprivation and manual labor? Only the desire to obey God and follow in His footsteps! Lord, may we be yoked to Your will, and say yes to You! 

Thursday, August 10, 2017

WOYWW: Sow Bountifully!

Last night I was busy sewing scraps and lace to make more purses. I want to make a lot so I can either give this away for Christmas or I can sell them during Art in the Park. 

Here's a close up of the progress. 

I'm also working on this bag made out of old jeans. 

These are the purses I've made so far. Just looking at them makes me happy! 

"He who sows sparingly will reap sparingly, and he sows bountifully will reap bountifully." 2 Corinthians 9:6

Many times we are asked for help. This is a good reminder for me at this time because I have many friends and friends of friends today who need financial assistance. I can see this as a burden or I can see this as an opportunity to reap bountifully. It all depends if I believe Jesus' words or not. 

What does a farmer do if he wants a bountiful harvest? Does he limit the seeds he sows to just a few? "I will just plant here on this small portion of my field," the farmer says. What will happen? This poor farmer will have very little to harvest when the time comes! 

In 2 Cor. 9:5, St. Paul writes: "So I thought it necessary to urge the make a generous and willing gift not as an extortion wrung out of you, not sparingly, reluctantly or begrudgingly." The Greek word used means that we should give on the basis that God is a God who blesses abundantly, bountifully, and our giving should also bless others in the same way. 

Yes Lord, help me see that Your economy is different from the world's economy. The more I try to think of myself, the more I hold tightly to what I have, the less I can be blessed. You will never be outdone in generosity and You have already given the greatest gift of Yourself to us. 

Joining the lovely Julia Dunnit for a 
peek at desks and projects!
I find a lot of inspiration
visiting my friends here:


Wednesday, August 09, 2017

You Will Have What You Say

"By my life, says the Lord, I will do to you just what I have heard you say." 
Numbers 14:28

Moses asked some men to reconnoiter the land of Canaan, the land God promised the Israelites. When they came back, they reported that the people in the land were huge and fierce from a race of giants who will swallow them up and consume them. "We felt like grasshoppers!" At this the whole community wailed aloud, complained ALL night wanting to go back to Egypt. 

All this grumbling displeased God so much that He declared: "By my life, I will do to you the very things I heard you say!" This reminds me of a very important thing Jesus said in Mark 11:22-24: "Have faith in God....For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be removed and cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, HE WILL HAVE WHATEVER HE SAYS." 

I think this is a very important key that unlocks God's blessings and promises. Grumbling and complaining closes the gates to God's favor. Believing and proclaiming God's promises in faith, humility and perseverance, will open the gates to God's miracles.  “Life and death are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21).

Lord, may I trust in You and Your Word. May I think rightly so that what I say comes from the fullness of a heart that believes in You. May my words line up with Yours and may I have a rich harvest according to the good seeds I plant in my life. 

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

The Meekest Man

"Now, Moses himself was by far the meekest man on the face of the earth." Numbers 12:3

Meekest? Why would God choose the meekest man to do work that would require a lot of courage, resoluteness, strong leadership qualities, decisiveness, etc.? And yet God chose Moses, a man who stuttered, and hemmed and hawed. “I am not eloquent,” Moses told God at the burning bush. “I never have been. So I think you have asked the wrong man. I'm clumsy with words. I have a heavy and awkward tongue." (Exodus 4:10). I've felt like that many times! When I'm chosen to give a talk or a sharing, when I'm invited to a TV interview, when I'm assigned a task, or even in my day to day work. Why me? When there are so many more capable and talented? 

We can take comfort in God's answer to Moses: "Who has made man's mouth? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go, and do as I have told you. I will help you speak well, and teach you what to say." 

God can only teach us what to say and do if we take time to be with Him. Like Moses, we should always talk to Him. In the Gospel for today, Matthew 14:22-36, Jesus went up to the mountain by Himself to pray. This had been a difficult day for Him. John the Baptist had been beheaded, He ministered to a vast crowd, preaching and teaching, healing the sick and feeding the multitude. He needed to be with His Father. 

When we are tired, feeling helpless and inadequate, do we find rest and reassurance in our Father's bosom? If Jesus, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, needed the time to separate from the world to commune with the eternal Father, shouldn't we as well? 

Lord, may we drink of Your refreshing living water and feed of Your Word every day. We need You! 

Monday, August 07, 2017

Grasping Too Tightly

"Give them something to eat yourselves." Matthew 4:16

There are times when our need or the need of others overwhelms us. In today's reading, there is a multitude of people who followed Jesus and His disciples to a deserted place. When the disciples suggest that He dismiss the crowd so they may buy food for themselves, Jesus tells them to give them something to eat! It matters not if there are a hundred or a thousand or five thousand! The disciples do not have anything in their pockets or their hands to give the people but a meager 5 loaves and 2 fish.

In Exodus 4, Moses is overwhelmed by the task before him. "What if they do not believe me?" He asked. Then God responded, "What is that in your hand?" And God used what was in Moses' hand, a staff, to do miracles. 

We have to be prepared like Moses and the disciples to offer to God what is in our hands, what is in our possession, so that He can use it and us. Sometimes we hold on too tightly to what we have because we think it is too little. We don't want to let go. The more we close our fists, the harder it is for God to let blessings flow into our lives, to bless others. 

My friends and I have been holding garage sales and auctions to raise money for the medical expenses of a good friend and brother. He fell on a hard concrete floor in April and has been in a coma since then with some steady improvement. We have been able to raise a good sum of money just from the donations of generous brothers and sisters who have let go of printers, leather bags, golf clubs, jewelry, nice clothes, shoes, toys, books and a whole lot of other things. 

Father, help us not to hold on too tightly to earthly treasures. May we see our possessions as just passing through our hands on its way to blessing and helping others. 

Sunday, August 06, 2017

My Burden is Light

"We ourselves heard this said from heaven while we were in His company on the holy mountain." 2 Peter 1:18

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord, when Jesus took Peter, James and John up a high mountain and He was transfigured before their eyes (Matthew 17:1-9, Mark 9:2-8, Luke 9:28-36). Jesus' face became dazzling like the sun, His clothes as radiant as light. Then both Moses and Elijah appeared and started talking to Jesus. 

If we were there to witness this, we would be awestruck, and this would color the rest of our lives. Jesus our brother and friend, the One we walked and talked with, now talking with Moses, the one who led the Jews out of Egypt with many signs and wonders, and Elijah, another wonder worker who defeated 850 prophets of Baal and Asherah. So Peter with his usual impulsiveness, exclaimed, "Let us erect three booths here, one for You, one for Moses and one for Elijah!" I would have probably agreed with my eyes wide and my mouth stupidly agape. 

But then a cloud came over the three, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him!" Suddenly Moses and Elijah were gone. It was as if God the Father was redirecting our attention to Jesus. Yes, the Law and the Prophets were important, but what was most important was Jesus and His Words. We had to start with that.

Thank You Father for making everything simpler. All the do's and don'ts in the Old Testament were such a heavy burden to bear. Thank You Jesus for teaching us to take Your yoke, for Your yoke fits us perfectly, and the burden You give us is light (Matthew 11:28-30). 

Saturday, August 05, 2017


"At a birthday celebration of Herod, the daughter of Herodias performed a dance and delighted Herod so much that he swore to give her whatever she might ask for." Matthew 14:6-7

Birthdays are a time of celebration and rejoicing. Perhaps we look back at our life, and thank God for the many blessings He bestowed on us, family, friends, our talents and gifts. We may also use the time to evaluate, recalibrate, examine our life. A wise man or woman would take the time to pray and offer his or her life to God. Some take pilgrimages or retreats to start anew. 

What did Herod do? Here is a man whose thinking is distorted by power, lust, pride and the influence of a woman with no conscience. One can imagine what went on during his birthday if the daughter of his 'wife' danced to his immense delight that he promised to grant her ANYTHING her heart desired, even to half his kingdom! Instead of a celebration of his life, he manages to turn his birthday into an infamous assassination when Salome, upon the advice of her mother, asked for the head of John the Baptist! John's head was brought in on a platter and presented to Salome. Forever after, I think, Herod and all his guests would be haunted by that gruesome sight! 

We do not have to wait for birthdays to examine our life, and the road we are taking. Every new day is a gift from God to correct mistakes, to forgive, to heal broken relationships, to be more loving, grateful and kind. We need to surround ourselves with good people who desire to do God's will and who will accompany us on our pilgrimage to heaven. 

Lord, thank You for being our compass, our North Star. Thank You for showing us the path to life not death. May we always listen to You and should we stray, Lord, bring us back to You. 

Friday, August 04, 2017

First Fruits

"You shall bring the first fruits of your harvest to the priest..." 
Leviticus 23:10-11

God's instructions to Moses were very precise and detailed. The Jews as His chosen people had to observe many festivals, hold sacred assemblies, offer oblations as prescribed for certain days. There were days when they did no work at all. One of His commands was that when they harvested their first crops, they were supposed to bring the first fruits to the priest. 

Today, as Christians, we also have our rituals, our liturgy, our feast days and assemblies. But I think very few of us offer our first fruits to God. 

In the New Testament, the "first fruits" is mentioned symbolically seven times. Although it is not commanded of us, we should make a habit of it because God can never be outdone in generosity. When we give back to Him the first and the best of what He has blessed us with, it shows we acknowledge Him as the most important in our life, that we are grateful to Him. 

When we receive our salary, it is good to set aside a portion for God's work. When we wake up to a new day, we should take some time in prayer and study of His Word, and most especially to listen to Him. In Malachi 3:10, we can read what God says: "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it." When we give of our first fruits, we will be blessed. That is the long and short of it. 

Father, I thank You for teaching us Your ways! You want to bless us and You tell us what to do in order that You can throw open the floodgates of heaven. How exciting it is that You give us Your secrets in Your Word! We have only to follow You!

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Rest in Thee

"My soul yearns and pines for the courts of the Lord." Psalm 84:2

A good friend passed away at 84 years old. I will always remember Dr. Commandante as full of energy and enthusiasm, with many plans to bring the Architecture students to our prayer meetings and Bible studies. He was funny, articulate and laughed a lot. He was sweet too, always affectionate especially with his family and friends. I am very sad I was not able to visit him when he was sick and having a hard time with his cancer. I am sad for his family who will miss his presence. 

But I am happy for him because now he is with the One who loves him most. I am sure that Dr. C as we fondly called him, yearned and pined and waited to be in His Father's courts, in His Father's arms. We are born with that yearning. Most of us just don't recognize it. Saint Augustine realized it after he had his fill of worldly pleasures. He wrote, "You have made us for Yourself. My heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee."  

Indeed we are all restless, searching for something to fulfill us, enamored by passing fancies and fading glories. What is it now my heart is pining for?  A red dress in the magazine page? A vacation in Paris? A scholarship in Harvard? Whatever it is, it is a small, pitiful reflection of our hunger for the eternal. 

Lord, may I find my rest in You even now! There are many distractions in the world. May I choose rightly! 

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

WOYWW: Radiant

My family and I visited my sister Tina and husband Pat who live in Tokyo. On the plane ride home yesterday, my brother Robert asked if he could draw on my planner. "YES!" I answered him right away. Look what he drew without a pencil sketch! Love it! 

And here's another drawing he did. This time, he drew Oreo, my sister Peggy's cat, and the CFO (Chief Feline Officer) of our family business. 

Below, I am starting on some new pages to document our trip. 

"When the Israelites saw Moses and noticed how radiant the skin of his face had become, they were afraid to come near him." Exodus 34:30

In Acts 6:15, Saint Stephen's face is described as "bright like an angel". This was when he had been arrested and was being accused before the high council. When my cousin Susan saw Mother Teresa of Calcutta, she said she was beautiful, so young! Susan was not the only one who thought that Mother Teresa was radiant. You can find many who met her who would describe this nearly bent over old woman as "very beautiful". Such is the transforming power of God in our life. 

Malcolm Muggeridge, the British journalist and satirist who helped introduce Mother Teresa to the western world in his book , "Something Beautiful for God", wrote that she was like a light that could never be extinguished. "She had the beauty of holiness — that special beauty, amounting to a kind of pervasive luminosity generated by a life dedicated wholly to loving God and His creation. This, I imagine, is what the haloes in medieval paintings of saints were intended to convey."  

The writer recognized that  "without the special grace that vouchsafed her, she might have been a hard, even grasping person. God turned these qualities to his own ends." Yes, Mother Teresa could have been controlling, shrewd, stubborn, tough, hard-headed and uncompromising, but she offered all she was to God and He transformed her. He wants to do the same for us. 

May we turn to You Lord every day that we can be mirrors that brightly reflect Your glory. May Your Spirit work within us, that we may become more and more like You and reflect Your glory even more." (2 Cor. 3:16-18)

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Do Come Along!

"If I find favor with You, O Lord, do come along in our company." Exodus 34:9

It's profitable and wise to read and study how God's favored people related to God. Perhaps even to write down in a notebook the words they used to speak to God, and use it for ourselves. Moses in particular had a very close and intimate relationship with the Lord of Lords. In Exodus 34:11, we are told that God spoke to Moses just as with a friend. To be friends with God is even more possible now that the veil is torn  (Matthew 27:50-51a). 

The veil or curtain used to separate the Holy of Holies from the rest of the Temple where men stayed. This veil was almost 60 feet high, and early Jewish tradition says it was 4" thick. When Jesus died, this veil was torn in two from top to bottom. This meant that we could now enter into God's holy place. Jesus opened the gate for us. 

"No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you." (John 15:15) 

How is it possible, Lord, that You want to be my friend? Thank You for standing at the door and knocking, and if I open the door, You will come in and sup with me and we can talk and talk like old friends (Revelation 3:20).