Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Fishers of Men!

"Come after me and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19

In my other Bible, this is how it is put: "Come, be my disciples, and I will show you how to fish for people." I have this funny picture in my mind of people trapped in nets! As this is one of Jesus' instructions to His disciples at the very beginning and at the end of His time here in earth, I am sure this is an important thing we have to learn to do. In fishing, a serious fisherman needs to know what kind of bait to use for a particular fish. Artificial lures or flies? Worms? Leeches? Or your leftover lunch? 

When we go fishing, we never know if we would get home with one fish, a whole icebox full or not a single one. But the thing is, we have to go out into the water! I remember listening to Ric Warren when he came to the Philippines. He said that in Saddleback Church, they have many clubs. I guess that was their fishing ground. They had one for mountaineers, for hula dancers, for bikers, etc. So they are able to reel in like minded people interested in mountain climbing, hula dancing and biking. We all have interests, maybe even an expertise, and we can use that to do some fishing as Jesus instructed. The thing is to go out into the water. And just like with fishermen, it's up to God to provide the fish! 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Little Child shall Lead Them

"...and a little child shall lead them." Isaiah 11:6

A little child shall guide them... that is what it says in the prophetic word of Isaiah. We can connect this to what Jesus says in the Gospel for today, Luke 10, "what you have hidden from the learned and the clever you have revealed to the merest children." 

Sometimes we over complicate believing in God. Paul Washer, the fiery preacher tells of when he was a young kid. His mom gave him clear instructions not to get himself dirty on his first day in school as he had a new set of clothes. Well, he got himself into a fight and went down to play in the river! All his cracks and crevices got filled up with dirt. So he asked John and Rance to come home as they were as dirty as he was. His mom saw him from the window with fire coming out of her eyes. "Now mom, don't get mad," he started, "look at John and Rance..."  Before he could finish, his mom gave him his best theology lesson: "John and Rance are not my children. You are my child. I have nothing to do with them, but I have everything to do with you. Now go upstairs, say your prayers and prepare to die." Now Paul goes around the world preaching with the biggest conviction in the world that God is calling us to be His children and we should say yes to Him every day. 

Lord, may I have the faith of a little child, trusting that I am Yours and You will teach me how to get to heaven and be with you! 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Humility and Faith!

"I assure you, I have never found this much faith in Israel." Matthew 8:10

Faith and humility, what a potent combination! When the centurion approached Jesus, he asked Jesus to heal his servant from paralysis. Jesus offered to come and cure him, but the centurion said, "I am not worthy to have you under my roof. Just give an order and my boy will get better." I have no doubt that this man, this pagan, had been listening to Jesus' words and they found a fertile place in his heart for faith to grow. What a wonderful example for us this Advent season!

All of us are unworthy but all of us are given a tiny bit of faith to nurture. We can make it grow or we can kill it. I like to make it grow by reading God's Word and agreeing with it, with what God says about me, who I am in Christ, and what God wants to do for me and through me! 

Lord, help me to clothe myself in humility knowing that You give grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5). I desperately need You and Your Holy Spirit in my life Lord. Lead me, guide me, mold me, make me into the person You want me to be! Water my faith Lord! 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Noah and the Flood

"They were totally unconcerned until the flood came and destroyed them." Matthew 24:39

Is there proof that Noah really existed, that he built an ark, and a great flood destroyed much of the earth? We may or may not believe the proof gathered by subsurface radar scans, metal detector surveys, chemical analyses, and archaeological finds made by a group of scientists who found the shape of a large ship in a mountain in Turkey near its border with Iran. Robert Ballard, a respected archaeologist who found the Titanic, believes the flood really happened because of an ancient shoreline he unearthed. 

But I do not need scientific proof. Jesus believes it and that's good enough for me. In Matthew 24, Jesus warns that His second coming will be just like what happened in the days of Noah. People would be going about their business, totally unconcerned about God and His instructions. In Genesis 6, we see that Noah is described as a good man. Why? Because he walked with God. And the earth was described as a "sewer"!!! There was violence and corruption and depravity. Here in the Philippines, I can see that we can be described as a sewer too! Extra judicial killings, people resigning en masse because of corruption, disgusting questions asked by Congressmen in a House justice committee hearing. 

Lord, teach us to walk with You, to learn Your ways. I do not have to wait for Your second coming. May I be faithful so that one day You will come for me! 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Be on the Watch!

"Be on the watch. Pray constantly..." Luke 21:36

Tomorrow is the first Sunday of Advent, from the Latin word 'Adventus' meaning coming. Advent is a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the coming of Jesus. Perhaps no one waits more than a prisoner in a Cuban jail. In his poignant memoir, Against All Hope, Armando Valladares, recounts his 22 years in the La Cabana prison. 

He tells of the horror of not knowing who will be called to face the firing squad next. But it was in those first uncertain months that he embraced Christ. He tells of ordinary young men who would shout, "Viva Christo Rey!" before the fateful instant of death. The defiant cries of the executed, "Long live Christ the King! Down with Communism!" echoed within him. "The cries became such a potent and stirring symbol that by 1963 the men condemned to death were gagged before being carried down to be shot," Valladares wrote. "The jailers feared those shouts. They could not afford to allow even that last courageous cry from those about to die." 

So we too must be on the watch constantly, perhaps not for a firing squad, but we can be sure that our ancient enemy has a bullseye on our back. He too is keeping watch for a time when we let our guard down. 

Lord, may I ever be on the watch. May I be as courageous as those men, and keep praying, keep shouting, "Long live Christ the King!" 

Friday, November 25, 2016

The Dragon in Chains

"The angel seized the dragon...and chained him up for a thousand years." Revelation 20:2

I haven't read the Book of Revelations much. There's too much going on I don't understand and like most people, I tend to gloss over the reality of the enemy, the great Satan, the devil. Paul Washer, the fiery preacher who does not compromise with the truth, agonizes over washed down Christianity and talks often about how most Christians are going to hell.  That it's not a matter of being saved because we received Jesus Christ one fine day. 

In Revelations chapter 20, Saint John receives a vision where the devil gets chained up for a thousand years, and hurled into the abyss. Then there's this enormous throne, the judgement seat, before which each person is judged according to how he lived his life. A seemingly powerless Jesus, who stood before Pilate and Herod Antipas, will one day judge them! 

Here and now, every day, we choose whom to listen to. Are we influenced by the dragon or the dragon slayer? Do we obey the one who strategizes for our downfall or the one who died to give us freedom? Yes, the ancient enemy wants to keep us shackled. He wants to suck up every vestige of power or victory we have in Christ, and we allow him! Every time we disobey, when we harbor unforgiveness in our heart, when we allow fear to reign instead of faith, when we allow our past to define us, instead of who we really are- sons and daughters of a King! 

Lord, You meant for us to be Your own special possession. You engraved us in the palm of Your hand! (Isaiah 49:16) May Your truth be ever before me and may I not be deceived by the wiles and stratagems of the devil. We cry out to You, Abba! Father! Never ever let us go! 

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Enter His Gates with Thanksgiving!

"Enter His gates with thanksgiving..." Psalm 100:4
Today, people in the US will celebrate Thanksgiving. The first Thanksgiving meal happened in November 1621 and lasted for three days. The Pilgrims were feasting in gratitude for a good harvest and the Wampanoag Indians came to check out what all the noise was about. That's how they got together. Unfortunately relations between the two peoples deteriorated when more and more settlers arrived and started fighting for land. 

In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Saint Paul admonishes us to thank God in everything, through good times and bad times. We should rejoice always (5:16). We may not always feel like rejoicing or thanking God but it should be a decision. Just like Abraham Lincoln made the decision for this proclamation, "I invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens."

Lord, may I set aside a part of my day to be grateful and thank You, whatever my circumstances. May I not need a proclamation from the President to count my blessings and to sing praise to You from whom all my blessings flow! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

WOYWW: Of Martyrs and Faith

I am still working on my
mini canvases. 

It's really fun and I do 
a little bit every day. 

"People will manhandle and persecute you..." Luke 21:12

It's amazing that the disciples continued to believe in Jesus' message and persevered in preaching it. True enough, what Jesus prophesied to them came true. One of them died after being dragged by horses, another was boiled in oil, one was dropped a hundred feet down the pinnacle of the Temple, others were beheaded, stoned, crucified, whipped again and again. Today the manhandling and persecution of Christians is still going on. Why do Christians persist? 

Because we are witnesses that His way works. Because we have seen God's work in our lives. That is the reason Christine Caine is so passionate about her work and continues to do it even against insurmountable odds. Christine  founded A21, an organization that fights human trafficking and has helped free more than a thousand girls from inhuman and barbaric situations in the Ukraine and in Greece where prostitution is legal. One time the police said they couldn't send anyone to help, so she and her staff went down on their knees to pray. They prayed that the men who would visit this particular brothel would be the ones to rescue the women there. That night, the police got surprised because one man came in and brought a young girl with him. The man said he just felt the urge to ask the girl for her papers and after finding out that she was there against her will, and seeing the condition she was in, he decided to help her. Christine has many stories about personal victories and victories in the field. And that is why she soldiers in the field of battle. 

Lord, give me the strength to do what You would have me do. Give me the courage, the perseverance, but most of all the gift of faith to fight when the going gets tough. 


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Looking for Signs

"Teacher, when will this happen?" Luke 21:7

Yesterday I was listening to an interview on an all news TV channel. I was surprised when the woman being interviewed said, "I'll be honest, I am a Christian. I believe we are in the end times and all the evil forces are out." Does being a Christian presuppose believing that we are in the end times? Back in Jesus' day, the disciples and other people listening to Jesus were also curious about what signs to look out for. I heard a preacher say that almost one-fourth of the Bible is prophecy. To me, the prophecies in the Bible authenticates it, because of the accuracy of the prophecies that have been fulfilled already. But nowhere in the Bible can we find a date for the last days. All we can be certain of is we are certainly nearer to the last days today than anyone in history. A no brainer! 
Instead of looking for signs in the skies, we should be looking for signs in members of our family, office mates, people we are in contact with. Even without the last days to worry about, people around us are in need of assurance, encouragement and strength. Do we know anyone at the end of their rope? I see a lot of people venting out frustration on Facebook. We can be signs of God's love and blessing if we pray for them, offer a word of encouragement and become concrete channels of God's grace. 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Every Penny!

"...every penny she had to live on." Luke 21:4

Of all the people in the temple, Jesus was impressed with the poor widow who put into the offertory two small coins. He saw the rich putting in their big offerings, but it was the poor widow he called attention to. Why is that? I think it was because Jesus saw her heart. Her heart was bigger than the rich people who gave out of their excess wealth. Jesus saw her faith. She trusted in God more than all the ones who gave so much more than she did. What does Jesus see when we give? It doesn't have to be money. It can be time. Do we spend time with Him, reserving the best time of the day for Him, or do we just give Him the dregs of our day, after we've spent all our energy on our work, and family, hobbies, friends, or telenovelas? 

Lord, I know You see my heart. I know I have a lot to learn. Thank You for Your patience with me. Thank You that I can trust You to finish the work You started in me! 

Saturday, November 19, 2016

God of the Living

"God is not God of the dead but of the living." Luke 20:38
Yesterday the late President Marcos was buried in a cemetery reserved for heroes. Naturally many of us rose up in indignation and protested. Rallies erupted simultaneously all over the place, noise barrages, pictures and posts on Facebook and other social media denouncing the injustice. How could we just allow this insult to the many victims of his dictatorship? Hero? How can this man be a hero by any standard?

He is dead to us but alive to God and God is his judge. There is a rumor going around that before he died he pleaded with his family to give back the billions he stole, and they refused. God is their judge just as He is ours. All of us will be judged. "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad." 2 Cor. 5:10. Yes, we may be forgiven by God when we ask forgiveness, but there is still judgement. We were all created by God for a purpose, and one day we will stand before Him giving account for how we lived our life. Although the time is up for Pres. Marcos, there is still time for us to evaluate how we live our life and see if we live it in love and gratefulness. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Getting Into the Boat!

"Why did you doubt me?" Matthew 14:31
I have read this passage several times. What struck me today was that Jesus insisted the disciples go ahead without Him. He wanted them to go into the boat and precede Him to the other side even if He must have known there was a storm brewing that would test their faith. Sure enough, strong head winds made the boat toss and turn like a little toy boat. These hardy men got scared, and all the more when they saw a 'ghost' walking towards them on the water. 

Jesus knows when we are about to get into some strong head winds. Maybe there's going to be a rocky patch at work, or maybe a close relationship will hit a snag. It could be a financial earthquake, or an overwhelming ghost from the past. Whatever it is, the point is, Jesus knows about it. He wants us to go through it. He wants to teach us something, to show us something we wouldn't see otherwise. We just have to get into that boat! Or we wouldn't experience what Jesus can do for us when we cry out to Him in our neediness, in our frustration, when we are at the end of our rope. 

If it's the last thing he does, our enemy wants to keep us from being who God created us to be. He wants us to see ourselves weak, a basket case full of insecurities. He is working hard so that we will doubt the power of God within us and around us, and even the existence of God Himself. I think the reason we have to go through hard times is so we will be compelled to depend on God, to ask Him, like the disciples did, to save us. 

Lord, when I need to get into the boat, help me to continue to trust in You and learn what I need to learn. Let me see Your saving power and never doubt that You will stretch out Your hand, like You did for Peter when he began to sink! 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Pressing You Hard at Every Side!

"Days will come upon you when your enemies encircle you with a rampart, hem you in, and press you hard from every side." Luke 19:43

Jesus prophesied this about the Holy City Jerusalem as He entered it weeping. He knew the evil events that would occur, how Titus would build a wall around the circumference of the city during the seige of Jerusalem 40 years after. The Romans aimed to compel the Jews to surrender because of lack of food. Josephus the historian wrote in his "Wars of the Jews" that the wall was 4 miles in length and was completed in 3 days, and it "cut off all hope of escape."

We too are in a war, but we don't see our enemies. They too want to build a rampart, a wall around us, to cut off all hope. The enemy is after us, after our children, our marriages, our schools, our whole country! We can see the effects of what the enemy is trying to do. Here in the Philippines, and all around the world, there is so much quarreling and disunity. Do we continue to fight our friends, our family, our husbands, our office mates? Or do we go to the root of the problem? Yesterday, we had a mini fire drill and our security officer instructed us that to put the fire out, we need to aim at the bottom of the fire, not the top. When we have problems and challenges, let's start targeting the real enemy who wants to destroy us. He is down there at the very bottom. Let's use weapons, far stronger than any nuclear bomb, a spiritual fire extinguisher that the enemy has no answer for- prayer! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

WOYWW: Invest This Until I Come Back!

"Invest this until I get back." Luke 19:13

The parable Jesus tells in Luke chapter 19, is His way of telling us what we have to do, and what will happen as a consequence. A man of noble birth, before leaving for a far country to be crowned, summoned his servants. He gave each of them some money equivalent to 3 month's wages, and said, "Invest this until I come back."

When he came back, crowned as King, he summoned his servants and asked for an accounting. The first servant received praise as he was able to double the money. "Well done, you have been faithful in a small matter, I reward you 10 cities to govern!" And he called each one until the last one. The last servant claimed he was afraid, because the Master was a hard man, and he just hid the money!" He had nothing to show! The Master, after berating him, took his money, and gave it to the first one. 
Jesus is the Master, He came and will come back crowned as King in the second coming. Meanwhile, He has invested much in each of us, His servants. It's not only that He has given us gifts and talents, resources, opportunities, people around us and time. He has also lavished us with the precious gift of His Spirit and His Word. We are supposed to make the most of all this, invest it, and make it grow. Perhaps we only have a small realm of influence, just as the servants were only given a small amount of money. But when the servant invested his little money well and pleased the Master, he was given a reward of 10 cities!!!! 

Lord, may I invest in eternal things and not things of worthless value. Teach me not to waste my time, money, gifts and talents on things that rust and can be stolen. When I meet You face to face, may You say to me, "You are a good and faithful daughter!" 


Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Wretched? Me?

"Little do you realize how wretched you are, how pitiable and poor, how blind and naked!" Rev. 3:17

How many us would react indignantly if someone said this to us? That we were wretched, pitiable, miserable, poor, blind, clueless even? When Saint John wrote this letter to the church of Laodicea, he said they were neither hot nor cold, and this was distasteful to God, and He would spew them, vomit them out of His mouth! Such strong words! 

In 2010, there was a terrible accident where 5 young girls coming from a holiday in Disneyland, ended up in a car crash. Two of the girls died, and 3 were in critical condition for a while. One was so disfigured, the doctors did not realize she was actually Abby, who was reported to be dead. So while the parents of Abby were mourning, they did not realize their daughter was actually alive in the hospital. They did not know the truth! Imagine their joy when they were told their daughter was alive! Perhaps when it sank in, they would have been angry about the mix-up! 

Many of us go about our lives not knowing the amazing truth about who we are, what we have, and our magnificent mind boggling inheritance in Christ! When I handled a group of single women for our community, God told me to tell them they were His daughters, His princesses, and I had to train them to live like princesses. It reminded me of that movie Princess Diaries with Ann Hathaway. We are God's adopted sons and daughters, but the enemy wants nothing more than to deceive us into thinking our value depends on how much money we have, or what family we are born into, how pretty or smart we are, or what job we do. If we want to know the truth, if we are tired of being wretched and blind, we need to dig into the truth of who we are, and what authority we have, and all the promises our Father has given us! Wouldn't we be angry if we lived pitiable lives without victory, because we had an enemy keeping the truth from us? But that's exactly what the devil does! 

Lord, may I not be lukewarm. May my eyes be open to the truth! May I be passionate about claiming my inheritance knowing I delight You, and that You want to give me all the immeasurable riches of Your Kingdom! 

Monday, November 14, 2016

I Want to See!

"Lord, I want to see." Luke 18:41

The blind man in the 18th chapter of Luke was asked by Jesus, "What do you want me to do for you?" "Lord," he answered, "I want to see." And Jesus healed him. 

I can see. You can see. But we can still ask Jesus, "I want to see." 

There are things happening in the spiritual realm, wars and deceptions, strategizing and maneuverings targeted against us that influence our lives more than we know. There's a bullseye on our back, for goodness sake!!!! We want to know, so we can use weapons that are made for the enemy and not the puny ones we throw at them. When someone at work talks behind our back, when our husband annoys us, when things go wrong all at the same time, what weapons do we use? We become quarrelsome, indignant, vengeful, we fight back. BUT if we know, our office mate is not the enemy, our husband isn't either, or any one making us feel hurt or defeated, we should pull out our manual, find out what weapons we have in our arsenal to fight the unseen enemy. Ephesians 6:12 in our manual tells us our war is not against flesh and blood, physical opponents, but against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realm. 

Priscilla Shirer tells a story of her cousin Jonathan who sometimes stands the prescribed distance from a Planned Parenthood center near his office. He can't go near, and has to wait for someone to approach him before he can talk to them. Most of the time he gets a lot frustrated because he feels so useless and ineffective. One time, he saw a van pull up to the parking lot. There was a young girl inside, 17 years old maybe, and a grey haired man driving. He realized there was a discussion going on, because the engine would go on and off. That's when he realized that he didn't need to talk to anyone. He could use the weapon of prayer, and fight for LIFE, right where he was. He prayed, and prayed, until the car finally roared off. 

Lord, I want to see. I want to see what the enemy is trying to do in my life, in my family, in my workplace, in my community, in my country. Help me to pray constantly so I may activate the armor You have provided me with. Thank You that evil will not triumph, and You have made a way for us to be victorious, not only in the end, but even now! 

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Don't Panic!

"And when you hear of wars and insurrections, don't panic." Luke 21:9

For Catholics who go through the daily readings, we will notice that as we near Christmas, the readings are mostly about the end times. Ever since the time of Jesus, people were already curious about when would it occur and what would be the signs? In Luke 21:5-19, we see a clear answer from Jesus: "Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes and plagues and famines and various places- and in the sky fearful omens and great signs." Indeed some of these are occurring in various parts of the world already. But Jesus says when we hear of these things, wars and insurrections, and other signs, we should not panic. We should not be perturbed. 

I see many of us panicking and being perturbed because of the extrajudicial murders being committed in the name of our  President's war on drugs. I see the same panic because Mr. Trump got elected, and Americans fear their rights will be trampled on. The complaints and indignation I read on Facebook about President Duterte, I read about Mr. Trump. They are even talking about impeachment for Mr. Trump already, and he hasn't even taken his place as President! 

As long as we live, there will be uncertainty. As long as we care, as long as we love, as long as we are committed to the truth, and peace, and God, there will always be risks. But Jesus said, "Do not panic." However dire our situation, we must not give in to hopelessness and despair. We must always focus on the truth that one day the forces of evil will be decimated, put away forever. Evil is not the final word of God for the people He loves, now and at the end times. 

Lord, may I trust in You. Whatever the chaos around me, may I find the peace of having You walking beside me. May I be always in the eye of the storm, inside Your bulwark. And may I also be able to bring more people to share this sacred space with me. 

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Sharing in the Work of Truth

"Help them to continue their them thus to have our share in the work of truth."
 3 John 6, 8

This short letter is from John the apostle to his friend Gaius. In it, he encourages him to partner with those who preach and teach about Jesus. In the Amplified Bible, it says that we would be fellow workers in the Truth if we provide for missionaries. Many things prevent us from going off and evangelizing in prisons, far off places,  and squatter areas. But I am sure we know some good preachers, teachers, priests, missionaries and even lay people who really go out of their way to be Jesus to others. When we support them financially, welcome them in our homes, provide for them in some way, we may have a part in their harvest. Lord, may I have open eyes to see what I can do, and a willing heart to be a part of the great work You have put us here to do. May I, even in a small way, support people who go out into the field to plant seeds. Teach me O Lord to be generous! 


Friday, November 11, 2016

Swept Away!

"Remember Lot's wife." Luke 17:32

Why did Jesus remind the disciples of Lot's wife while comparing the end times to the days of Noah? He never told them to remember Moses or Abraham or even David! What was it about Lot's wife that we need to remember? 

In Genesis 19, Lot, Abraham's nephew, is told by two angels that he and his family should leave Sodom as God had sent them to destroy the city. When Lot and his family were outside the city, one of the angels clearly said, "Escape for your life! Do not look behind you, lest you be swept away." 

Perhaps most of us would be tempted to look back, especially as the roar of fire and brimstone could certainly be heard as Sodom and Gomorrah was decimated to ashes. Alas, Lot's wife looked back and immediately was turned into a pillar of salt! (Gen. 19:26) What was her problem? She did not believe the word of God. Even if she witnessed the faith of Abraham, how he obeyed God, her heart was not converted. She looked back. Perhaps she longed for her past life, living among sinners in Sodom. Even after she was saved, part of the chosen few, she still couldn't manage to believe! 

Are we like Lot's wife? Hard headed? Longing for our favorite sins and addictions? Unwilling to move forward and let go? Do we still ignore God's calling us? God spoke to Moses in the 4th chapter of Deuteronomy, "Watch yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of the Lord your God....for the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God." Lord, there are many things in this world calling our attention. May I train my gaze in You, delighting in Your Word and in being Your daughter! May I not look back but move forward, ever pressing on towards the goal of finishing the race in victory. 

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Already in Your Midst!

"The Kingdom of God is already in your midst." Luke 17:21
The feed on my Facebook wall is crazy. There are jokes about the name of the cemetery Marcos is to buried in, memes about Martial Law and the terrible things Marcos did, posts about how children are crying because Trump is the next President of the US, hysterics, jubilation, sadness, friends unfriending friends, calls for action, etc etc. It's amazingly noisy and busy, and reading through it gives me some kind of anxiety. What is the world coming to? Is the end of the world as we know it coming to an end? Are the sheeps and the goats being separated from each other (Mt.25:32)?
In Luke 17, Jesus is asked by some Pharisees when the reign of God would come. Perhaps some today wish that God would come down and reign over us. But that's not God's plan yet. Instead Jesus said His Kingdom is already in our midst! After all, Jesus said He would be wherever 2 or three of His people are gathered. He likened the Kingdom to leaven working in a batch of dough. Yeast is so tiny, but it works through dough and makes it rise. We too can be leaven working silently, quietly, steadily, in a world gone mad. We should watch our hearts, that we not succumb to anger, hopelessness, or like the trolls I see in so many posts, being quarrelsome and obnoxious! We should instead be a balm of peace, spreading kindness and hope.  But I think most of all, what the world needs now is prayer. Fervent, passionate, serious prayer. Let us go to war with prayer, because it's one of the most potent weapons the world has ever seen. More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of! (Alfred Lord Tennyson)

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

WOYWW: Our Refuge!

I am continuing to paint
on my mini canvases! 
A lot more to go! 

"God is our refuge and our strength, an ever present help in distress." Psalm 46:1

Yesterday 9 of our Supreme Court Justices dismissed all the petitions challenging the proposed burial of our former President Marcos in the Libingan ng Bayani. Most of us know Marcos was a dictator and a thief and certainly that he should not be buried in a cemetery for heroes. Research has uncovered that there are no records of his receiving the medals he claimed in his biography he was awarded in the US, and instead there is a photoshopped picture of Marcos receiving a medal from Gen. MacArthur. This terrible injustice can't help but color my prayer time. So many people are distressed and discouraged, and wondering how we got here. 

I just started reading "Fervent", written by Priscilla Shirer, a preacher I enjoy listening to. She also acted in the movie "War Room", which is about strategic prayer. In one of the front pages, this caught me, a passage from "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" -  "Theoden: I will not risk open war. Aragon: Open war is upon you, whether you would risk it or not." 

In page 2, I read and paraphrased to fit my need: "A very real enemy has been strategizing and scheming against you, assaulting you, coming after your emotions, your mind, your future, your country. In fact, he's doing it right this second. Right where you're sitting. But I say his reign of terror stops here. Stops now. He might keep coming, but he won't have victory anymore. Because it all starts failing when we start praying." 

Yes, Lord, You are our strength and our courage. It doesn't matter what it looks like, all the extrajudicial killing around us, and now this. In spite of what is happening, You are still on the throne, and You are in control, and like it says in Prov. 31:25, I can laugh at the days to come, because You will work things for our good. 


Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Useless Servants!

"We are useless servants. We have done no more than our duty." 
Luke 17:10

Once I gave a talk about our business. I shared about how God is our partner, that although my mom had no business background, no capital, no brilliant marketing strategy, we were able to build a successful business with an identifiable brand. And I quoted Bible verses. So when I got home, my attitude was like, "I did something for You God!" and I was sort of proud. Well I opened my Bible and this is the verse I found! I shouldn't be proud about doing God a favor! I did no more than my duty! 

This reminds me of the famous preacher, church planter and author of the best selling book, "Crazy Love". Before giving a sermon, Francis Chan saw his face filling up the cover of a magazine, and he enjoyed it. He was thrilled. He liked it that he got all this attention, and was sought after for interviews, and TV guestings. Then God convicted him, and he went down on the floor and cried. As God's servants, we have a mission, a purpose, a duty to do what our Chief orders us to do. And just as in the military, the Private doesn't expect to be praised by the top brass for doing his job, we too shouldn't expect to be thanked. We should do our job to the best of our ability knowing it is a privilege to work for the God of the Universe, confident we will get paid with an immeasurably priceless inheritance.