Tuesday, September 23, 2014

WOYWW: On the Kitchen Counter


I am in Seoul and I have been painting on the kitchen counter. There is not much space but I have managed nicely.

"The way of truth I have chosen..." Psalm 119:30

It is a good thing that I have seen that choosing the way of truth and honesty is possible, even in business.

I have been a witness to how my mother deals with the Bureau of Internal Revenue agents who want to extort money from us. When I was young, there was one particular agent we had to deal with who was quite memorable. My mom would talk to her, and my sisters would be behind praying. Eventually the BIR agent confessed that she thought we had another business because how could a gift business pay so much in taxes, she asked!



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

WOYWW: Love is an Action Verb

 Beyonce is my model for today.
But I didn't know she looked like Julia Roberts!!!
At least, in my finished painting she does!! Ha ha

 "If I have not love, I am nothing." 1 Cor. 13:2
I asked God once if He could love me more, 
and I got this answer in my heart-
"You are like a tree planted beside a running stream. 
Just as the tree, if it stretches out its branches, 
can hold more water, 
if you stretch out your arms out in love to others, 
you will be able to hold more of my love."

 Saint Paul in 1 Corinthians 13 
talks about faith, hope and love. 
Faith is not needed in eternity 
because we will see everything. 
In heaven, all the promises are fulfilled, 
so we do not need hope. 
Only love remains. 
It is the currency of heaven. 
It will never be obsolete or unnecessary. 
And that is why we should practice 
love today and every day. 
Until we become experts in 
loving God and our neighbors!

 It's difficult but perhaps if we read 
1 Corinthians 13 line by line and 
really let it sink into our hearts, 
we will be able to love the way God wants us to. 
For instance, "LOVE is not pompous". 
Do I act as if I am entitled? 
Am I courteous, especially to the poor, 
and those with no standing in the world? 
Am I kind to Lucy, my helper, 
saying please and thank you? 
Do I take account of her feelings, 
not expecting her to be at my beck and call 
but allowing her to rest and have time off?
Contrary to what the movies and TV shows display, 
love is an action verb, not a feeling. 
And because it is an action verb, 
we will be able to SEE whether or not 
we love as God wants us to love!

 "...a body is one though it has many parts..." 
1 Cor. 12:12
I think about what an amazing "machine" the body is! 
How in the diversity of parts and organs, 
there is unity. 
So complex, but all the parts working together 
from the time we get up in the morning 
to when we retire at night,
 and still working tirelessly while we sleep. 
Can you imagine if one hand was using the computer, 
and other was pulling it away, 
one foot wanted to dance 
and the other was fast asleep? 
Or if our heart wanted to rest for a while?

Or imagine a basketball team with 
all Centers crowding around the basket! 
Or an orchestra composed of 
all conductors with one violinist!

In the Church, we are all given 
different roles, different gifts. 
And because God wants to bring Heaven to earth, 
we have to discover our gifts from the Holy Spirit, 
develop them and use them! 
To do what Jesus tasked us to do, 
"make disciples of all nations...", 
we need unity in diversity, 
all of us working together!


Monday, September 15, 2014

A Mother's Heart

 "Standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother... 
When Jesus saw His mother there 
and the disciple there whom He loved 
He said to His mother, 
"Woman, behold your son." 
Then He said to the disciple, 
"Behold, your mother." 
And from that hour the disciple 
took her into his home." John 19:25-27

 Can we imagine how Mary felt 
seeing her son on the cross? 
Even if there were so many times 
that she had to accept 
God's inconceivable will for her life, 
I don't think it can ever be enough 
to cushion her from this last agonizing pain! 
Perhaps she couldn't think anymore. 
She could only be aware of her heart 
breaking into a million pieces.

 Elizabeth Stone said, "Making the decision 
to have a child-it is momentous. 
It is to decide forever to have your heart 
walking around outside your body." 

 That must have been true of Mary 
more than of any other mother! 
From the moment she conceived, 
there was so much hinging on the way 
she would love this child, nurture Him, 
teach Him, protect Him, and then 
surrender Him to the world to do with as we pleased!

 "Behold, your mother." 
Before Jesus died, He made sure 
His mother would be cared for. 
I think He would also want us 
to honor her and love her. 
Just as there is a place in 
Jesus' heart for His mother, 
we should also find a place in our hearts 
to honor a woman who gave up her heart 
to lodge in her son's body, 
and allowed it to be trampled on 
so God's plan would be accomplished!

 "If you listen to my words and act on it, 
you will be like a man building a house, 
who dug deeply and laid foundation on rock..." 
Luke 6:43-49
When I was 12 years old, 
I clearly remember listening to the news 
about a 6-storey apartment building 
that collapsed after an Intensity 7 earthquake. 
The name will stick forever in my memory. Ruby Towers. 
More than 200 survived this tragedy 
but many more were not found even 
after a mammoth rescue effort 
involving more than 6000 volunteers. 
The Arellano High school in front of the site 
was like a morgue, 
with body parts strewn all over and the 
smell of dead bodies permeating the air.

 Many people were charged for this disaster, 
from city officials who approved and 
were supposed to inspect the plans and require 
tests to be done on the soil, 
to the architect and structural engineer 
who made a poor design, 
the owners who used substandard materials 
to save money and deviated from the approved design.
In Luke chapter 6, Jesus warns us 
that if we do not listen to Him, 
and act on His words, 
this is what will happen to our life! 
God has a wonderful plan and purpose for our life. 
If we deviate from that blueprint 
which takes into consideration our gifts and talents, 
our natural inclinations, 
our passions and interests, 
we will be a disaster waiting to happen. 
Our "house" will crumble.

 Whether we like it or not, 
we are all building a house. 
It is our decision whether to 
make it a hodgepodge of styles, 
choosing whom to follow, doing it our way, 
or always going to the Master Architect and consulting Him. 
Where will we get the materials to build our house? 
Do we go to the source of wisdom? 
Or will we choose to listen to an easier gospel, 
one that is more comfortable, 
one that does not require us 
to examine our life and change?
Let us build our house on the sure foundation!

 "We have sinned in complaining against the Lord..." 
Numbers 21:7
How hard should it be to cultivate an attitude of gratitude? 
We are soooo rich! 
Consider how much a blind man 
would pay to have even one eye? 
How much a paraplegic would give 
to be able to move around and not have 
others help him do what we take for granted every day? 
How much for a kidney, a heart, a leg or a hand? 
We are billionaires! 
If you can read this, 
you have access to a computer or a cellphone. 
842 million people in the world don't even have enough to eat!

A few years ago I had so many 
canker sores in my mouth for months at a time. 
I couldn't eat, I couldn't talk, I couldn't sing! 
But sometimes I would get respite and 
it felt so good to be able to sing songs 
during mass and in my community. 
Do we have to wait to lose things 
before we can praise God for what we have? 
There was a time I had difficulty walking. 
It turned out I had some 
compressed discs in my spine. 
So now I have resolved to praise God 
for the "ordinary, every day things" I can do. 
I can walk, I can talk, I can breathe, 
I can paint, I see colors, I can read...
So much to praise God for! COUNTLESS!!!
What other ordinary, everyday things 
should we be grateful for?

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Friday, September 12, 2014

Paint Party Friday: Captivated by Jesus!

For Paint Party Friday, this is what I chose 
from my stack of backgrounds.

 "When fully trained, 
every disciple will be like his teacher." 
Luke 6:40

Seems like such a serious, forbidding word. 
I think I shall focus on the word 
It is natural for us to look up to 
someone we admire, who inspires us, moves us.

 How amazing that Mother Teresa 
and her way of life moved 
so many ordinary women to live 
in poverty and care for the dying.   
St. Francis of Assisi, 
by following Jesus' footsteps 
as an itinerant preacher, 
founded several religious orders. 
These men and women who 
imitated him were captivated 
to help restore Jesus' original teachings 
to a rich, decadent Church.

 How about us? 
Are we captivated by Jesus, by His life, 
His words, His character, His love? 
Do we want to be like Him? 
In Matthew 11:29, He says to the crowd, 
"LEARN from me..."

We will only want to learn from Him 
if we see Him as He is 
and cast away our fear that 
we have to give up everything to follow Him. 

surely we can take steps every day 
to become more and more like Jesus! 
After all, He gave His life for us!!

 "Stop judging..." Luke 6:37 

God knows I find this very difficult to obey! 
I'm a person who has a tendency 
to look at other people's lives 
and thinks why in the world 
do they do the wrong thing repeatedly? 
They are just digging their own hole! 
At heart I am a busybody, 
though it pains me to admit it!!! 
When I see something that needs to be corrected, 
I will go and talk to the person, 
even if he is a priest or someone with standing. 
And then I go to confession and 
repent for being judgmental and self-righteous!

The best way I know to combat 
this deplorable propensity of mine is to be 
always conscious that the person I am judging 
is someone God loves very much--
To see that person through God's eyes, 
with His compassion, 
His mercy, His understanding. 
The same way Jesus looked at 
the adulterous woman in John Chapter 8. 
Jesus did not go preaching to her about sin. 
He loved her. 
He saw the person she COULD be, 
and eventually became! 

There is so much pain in everyone's life, 
and I pray I will always be the one 
to offer encouragement instead of criticism. 
I hope I will remember to be the one 
to offer words of life, of healing, 
instead of throwing the first stone 
to destroy someone's self esteem, or confidence. 

God HATES the sins of the tongue. 
There is much in the Bible about this! 
But we should always speak good 
for our own future. 
1 Peter 3:10 says, "Whoever wants to embrace life 
and see his days fill up with good,..
say nothing evil or hurtful, 
cultivate good, run after peace..." 
(The Message) 

Yes, we reap what we sow!

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