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. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Greatest of Gifts

"Strive eagerly for the greatest of spiritual gifts." 1 Cor. 12:31
In another version, we read, be zealous for the better charisms. Each of us has received several gifts. Never let it be said that our generous Father was stingy when He handed out His spiritual and natural and creative gifts. We need to recognize them, use them, try them out, continue to exercise, grow and develop them like a muscle. 

I love looking at calligraphy, but I have neither the diligence nor the patience to master it. I know I can, if I really wanted to, but I choose to go after other gifts with the limited time I have. But it is not the same with our spiritual gifts. If we are not able to develop even one of the spiritual gifts God gives us, it is a loss for the Church. It is like a treasure that has not been found. 

Lord, may I not be ignorant of my spiritual gifts. May I give it back to You for the building of your people and Your church. May You open my eyes so I may help others find the treasure they possess. 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

How Shall I Make a Return to the Lord?

"How shall I make a return to the Lord, for all the good He has done for me?" Psalm 116:3

Indeed my whole life is a testament to God's unfailing goodness and love. He surrounded me with people to love and support me, and encourage me to be the best I can be. He put me in a place where I can use my gifts and talents. He answers my prayers and speaks to me when I need His help, and even when I feel I don't. He forgives me seventy times seven and assures me that nothing shall ever separate me from His love. 

How do I repay all the good He has done? By being faithful to Him, by being sincere in my desire to follow Him, by returning again and again to the fount of living water, so I can be washed clean. Lord, I may never deserve Your love, but may I always try to be Your daughter in every way, to follow Your teachings, to care for those You care for. 


Friday, September 09, 2016

Compelled by God!

"I am compelled by God to do it." 1 Cor. 9:16

Here Saint Paul is talking about preaching the Gospel. "I am under compulsion and have no choice." Many people have overriding cravings or impulses for all sorts of things. Saint Paul whose first compulsion was to catch Christians and persecute them for their faith was "caught" by God until He completely reversed and gave all for Christ. How about us? Are we compelled by God to love and serve others? Do we have a missionary zeal to reach out to those who are lost and hurting? 

Lord, may I be caught by You, and may You never let me go! May I know what You want me to do with my life, my gifts, my resources, and may I be compelled to follow You! 

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

WOYWW: Blessed are They who Mourn

Step one- trace a picture on to the 
Bible page with carbon paper and a 
Ballpens that does not work. 

Here is the traced image. 

After painting, I outline with a dark brown pencil. 

"Blessed are you who mourn, you shall laugh." Luke 6:21

I read about this lady named Hu Xinglian. She is a professional mourner, a "kusangren", who is hired to ensure that a Chinese funeral is noisy with cries and wailing. She even comes with her own sound system, six members of her band and multi colored spotlights. After all the impassioned sobbing, there is a lot of festivities. I do not think this is what Jesus had in mind when He pronounced, "Blessed are they who mourn..."

I think if we can see deep into the heart of God, there is a lot of grief. Grief over the many sins and failures of man. And so, if we want to connect with our Father, we should grieve and mourn for that which He grieves and mourns over. Our personal sins. The sins of our leaders. The wars in our country and in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, etc. The number of lives lost to abortion, cancer, drug addiction, broken marriages. But after all these, God promises comfort, consolation, yes even joy. In Revelation 21:4, the promise is, "He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." 
Yes Lord, even as we grieve for these "former things", we look forward to the day that there will be no more pain. Thank You for Your promises, and the truth we can depend on. 

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

I find a lot of inspiration
visiting my friends here:


Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Being Cheated

"Why not put up with injustice, and let yourselves be cheated?" 1 Corinthians 6:7

I can just imagine receiving this advice from a lawyer! "What? Just allow myself to be cheated?!!! What kind of lawyer are you?" But this is what Saint Paul advised, and he had been a zealous Pharisee prior to his conversion. Pharisees were known for their strict observance to traditional and written law. 

A long time ago, my mom was purchasing a property in Roces Avenue, but the owner, who happened to be a judge, changed his mind and preferred to sell it to a friend of his. My mom brought the case to court and won. The judge then appealed the case to a higher court. About this time, we joined the renewal and learned that we should not sue, so my mom dropped the case. God worked everything to our advantage because we were able to buy a better property which is where our building in Roces Ave. now stands. 

In Deuteronomy 32:35, God says, "Vengeance is mine. I will repay." Lord, even if we are cheated, or a victim of injustice, may we have the strength to trust that You will ultimately take care of us. Amen! 

Friday, September 02, 2016

New Wine in Old Wine Skins

"No one puts new wine into old wine skins..." Luke 5:37
Today it's hard to imagine carrying around goat skin sewn around the edges or the bladder of an animal so that we have something to drink on our journey. But back in Jesus' time, people put wine in these lightly tanned leather pouches. Old wine skins would be hard, brittle and not pliable. New bubbly, fermenting wine would burst these old wine skins. 
Like all Jesus' parables, He meant many things. How about the new wine being the gift of the Holy Spirit to us? If our hearts are like the old wine skins, hard, inflexible, judgmental, the Holy Spirit can't live in us! Father, thank You for the gift of Your Spirit. How amazing is Your desire that we be one with You! How exciting is the new life You invite us to! 

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Put Out into the Deep

"Put out into the deep..." Luke 5:4

My youngest sister Tina got married a couple of Saturday's ago to Patrick, an American living in Tokyo. For Tina, who has lived a protected life, surrounded by family and a Christian community, it was certainly a decision to put out into the deep waters of the unknown.

When Jesus got into Simon's boat, at the edge of Lake Gennesaret, Simon did not know Him at all. Simon and the other fishermen were washing their nets. That meant they had done with fishing and were going home for a nice meal and some rest. But Jesus got into the boat, and started preaching. After He finished speaking, Jesus said to Simon, "Put out into deep water and let down your nets for a catch." If I was Peter, I might have said, "What?!!! After I have cleaned and washed my net?!! No way!" Then I would have missed the greatest adventure of my life! 

When Jesus gets into our boat, in the ordinary everyday circumstances of our life, we need to be prepared to change course. Lord, may I always be sensitive to what You want me to do or to become. May I not resist Your call to put out into the deep!