Saturday, March 31, 2018

Holy Saturday Rest

“Let us strive to enter into that rest.” Hebrew 4:11

It’s been a pretty hectic few days. On Holy Thursday morning, I prepared haroseth, mixing apples, raisins, walnuts, almonds, cinnamon, and sweet red wine in a bowl. At a Seder meal, haroseth symbolizes the mortar which the Israelites used to bind the stones and bricks in their back breaking work for their Egyptian masters. Haroseth has been a symbolic part of the Jewish Passover for at least 2,000 years.

At 4 pm, we prepared several Seder meal plates, using bones from goats we’ve accumulated through years of celebrating Seder, bitter herbs, the haroseth, eggs, salt water and unleavened bread. At about 5 pm, our family with about 15 guests started the Seder, had a festive meal, and then left for the Holy Thursday liturgy which started at 8 pm. 

Yesterday, we attended a Good Friday recollection from 1-5 pm. One of my takeaways was from Jake Yap’s presentation from Saint Augustine’s homily: “ Of ourselves we had no power to live, nor did He of Himself have the power to die.

In other words, He performed the most wonderful exchange with us. Through us, He died; through Him, we shall live.”

Live. One of the gifts of real living that God wants to give us is the promise of rest. In Hebrews 4:1, the writer says, “God’s promise of entering His place of rest still stands.” Today, Holy Saturday is a day of rest after two days of blessed busyness. There is no mass today until the Easter vigil tonight. So we wait with the disciples, with Jesus’ mother, with all the faithful. Jesus’ body lies in the tomb, but we know in faith, that we do not wait in vain. Today, like all the times we wait for God’s answer to our prayers, we wait in hope and faith. God is working. Even if all others see is the tomb, we know the tomb is empty and our Savior lives. We can rest gratefully in that truth. 

Friday, March 30, 2018

They Crucified Him

“There they crucified Him.” John 19:18

Jesus’ crucifixion is a historically verifiable fact. No reputable scholar denies it. Some atheists would say that Jesus did not die on the cross, but no one ever survived a crucifixion. In documenting history we are lucky if we have one or two sources. For Jesus’ execution we have 5 ancient sources outside the New Testament. Gerd Lüdemann, an atheist, says, “Jesus’ death as a consequence of execution is indisputable.” 

Twelve years ago, we watched Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ”. Many complained it was too violent. They wanted a sanitized version of what Jesus underwent. We do not want to see what our sin did to Jesus. We perhaps would prefer to say, “Thank You”, and walk away guilt free. But if anything, Mel Gibson did not portray the crucifixion truthfully. It was a sanitized version fit for the movie theater. The Roman crucifixion was designed to make sure Jesus experienced the maximum pain and suffering before he died. I am sorry, Lord, for all the pain my sin caused You. 

Before His crucifixion, Jesus was stripped and weakened by flogging. They used a whip of leather strips studded with iron balls and sharp pieces of sheep bones. “Quivering ribbons of bleeding flesh” is how one writer described the result. In one meditation I listened to, the priest said that not only skin was removed by flogging, but the intestines would be exposed as well when the sheep bones like hooks would pull out the layers of skin. Lord, did I do this to You? Forgive me Jesus! 

When the Roman soldiers put a crown of thorns on His head, Bible scholars believe the long and hard thorns caused "trigeminal neuralgia”, a piercing pain all over Jesus’ head and face. Forgive me Lord! 

And the crucifixion itself was more than excruciating. In Psalm 22:14, “I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint.” Because of Jesus’ position on the cross, His shoulders, elbows and wrists were dislocated. His rib cage was pulled outwards and upwards. Every breath was torture. Jesus, I am not deserving that You went through all that suffering for me. Forgive me! 

In depicted crucifixions in movies, the hanged man is almost still. In reality, Jesus had to continually struggle, moving up and down, to breathe. Jesus got weaker and weaker, He could not breathe properly and would slowly suffocate. Doctors say that Jesus probably died because His heart burst, what is known as a “Cardiac Rupture”. 

Lord, You gave Your all for me. Your heart burst with love for me. Forgive me for my many sins. May I walk with You, who loves me best of all, the rest of my life. 

Thursday, March 29, 2018

A New Mandate

“For I have given you an example...” Isaiah 13:15

Jesus gave us the supreme example by becoming a servant of servants. We are but His servants, and yet He became one of us, and died so we might live. During the last supper he had with His disciples, He washed the disciples’ feet. Simon Peter protested, but Jesus told him, “Unless I wash you, you will have no inheritance from me, you won’t belong to me.” 

I think if we were there, we would be exactly like Peter. We would balk at Jesus’ washing our feet! It’s such a lowly service, but here was Jesus insisting He do it. The King of Kings!!!! He was willing to do everything, up to the last requirement, so that each of us would not lose our heavenly inheritance. 

Today, Holy Thursday, we commemorate the Maundy, or the foot washing done by Jesus to the disciples. Maundy is from the word “mandate”, and from the first few words of “Mandatum novum do vobis ut diligatis invicem sicut dilexi vos". Jesus said this to His disciples after supper in John 13:34: "I give you a new commandment, That you love one another as I have loved you.” Jesus is LOVE. Our mandate, our command, instruction, commission, from Jesus is to love others as He loves us. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

WOYWW: Prevailing Spirit

This is what I finished yesterday. I started it during a workshop I gave last week to some teenagers and was not able to finish it during the session. Below is one of the columns where I give my workshops. My brother painted it. 

Love to see happy faces after every artivity! 

“I gave my back to those who beat me.” Isaiah 50:6

As we get to the heart of the Lenten season, we read more and more of the prophecies of Isaiah. Last Palm Sunday, we read from the same chapter this prophecy about Jesus, that He did not rebel, He gave His back to those who beat Him even if He could have called on any element in the universe, any force in heaven and earth, to save Him. 

We may think that Jesus had a supernatural spirit behind Him, and that’s why He could endure all His beatings, all the insults piled on Him. But we too have this prevailing, conquering Spirit. 

When Corrie ten Boom and her sister Betsie were in the Ravensbrück Concentration Camp, Betsie would get beaten because she was so weak from her congenital anemia. She could not carry much and Ravensbrück was a work camp. The women were forced to get up at 4:30 am and get their job orders. But Betsie would remind Corrie, “No hate.” Betsie told Corrie there was always a reason for everything, and that when they got out, they would be able to tell their story. Betsie died in camp, but Corrie was able to go around the world and tell many stories. One of my favorite is how Betsie would prod her younger sister Corrie to thank God for everything. “Everything? Even the fleas?” The large room where the women were crowded into was crawling with fleas, and Corrie was skeptical about thanking God for those creatures! One day Betsie said excitedly, “I found out why no one bothers us here!” They had been holding 2 bible studies a night, all the women crowded together, singing hymns, and none of the guards came in to stop them! “It’s because of the fleas!” 

Thank You Lord for giving us Your Spirit of forbearance and strength. Thank You that we can lean on You. We do not have to struggle on alone. 

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


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

A Faith that Sees Beyond

I facilitated two workshops last week. 

I enjoyed sharing what I do during my prayer time in the morning. 

It was great seeing the creativity of these teens! 

“One of you will betray me!” John 13:21

As we near the climax of the Lenten season, we accompany Jesus as He journeys toward His crucifixion. In John chapter 13, He very clearly shows He knows what is to befall Him. He gives the disciples a lesson on servanthood as He washes their feet. “This is the path of blessing.” 

In great anguish, He reveals, “One of you will betray me!” Judas left abruptly. Then Jesus talks about the new commandment He gives to them: Love one another as I have loved you. Your love will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” Peter then bravely pronounces that he was ready to die for Jesus. “Die for me? Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me!” Jesus revealed. 

Sometimes we are like Judas, betraying Jesus when we sin against Him. Sometimes we are like Peter, desiring with all our heart to lay down our life for the Lord, and then denying Him with our words to others in the world. Are we brave enough to stand up for Jesus? 

We have to build up our faith because the time is coming when we will have to be brave just to stand on the side of truth and righteousness. During the Holocaust, a Pastor is memorialized in Corrie ten Boom’s story. When the ten Boom family was helping to save a Jewish baby from being killed, the Pastor dissuaded them asking how could they put their lives in danger for one baby. “You will all be killed!” 

Corrie’s 85 year old father Casper answered, “It would be an honor to die for God’s ancient people!” He and his family continued to aid the Jews to escape until they were arrested. He died in Scheveningen Prison 10 days after his arrest. Casper ten Boom and his family had a faith that sees beyond suffering, pain and trials. Do we? 

Monday, March 26, 2018

A Small Fortune

“That perfume was worth a small fortune." John 12:5

I like the retelling of the story of Mary of Bethany and her alabaster jar sung by Lillie McCloud. She is able to capture the poignancy of the moment when Mary pours this precious oil, this expensive perfume on Jesus' feet. Mary's offering was worth a year's wages, 300 denarii we are told, and came from far away, a place in Northern India. Was Mary so rich that she could afford to just give this away? But she broke her beautiful container to get every ounce of that ointment to wash Jesus' dirty feet with. And she wiped it with her long unbound hair. Why?

The song goes, "Though she spoke no words, everything she said was heard, as she poured her love for the Master from her box of alabaster. I've come to pour my praise on him, like oil from Mary's alabaster box...I can't forget the way life used to be. I was a prisoner to the sin that had me bound and I spent my days, poured my life without measure into a little treasure box I'd thought I'd found. Until the day Jesus came to me and healed my soul with the wonder of His touch. So now I'm giving back to Him all the praise He's worthy of. I've been forgiven and that's why I love Him so much!" 

Listen to the song here:

Do we realize how much God loves us that we are willing to respond to Him with an extravagant love? A love that costs us something? Are we aware of God's forgiveness and mercy that we desire 
to be wildly generous and give God the best of us, our "first fruits"? In John 12:3, it described that the whole house was filled with fragrance. Although Mary did not say anything, every one who was there (except Judas!) knew that Mary was offering a pure worship to Jesus. 

Lord, I am so unworthy, and so lacking in gratitude. As the Lenten season comes to a climax this next week, help me to see Your face more fully, and the sacrifice You offered on the cross for me. Help me to love You with a wildly generous love, the same love You have for me! I do not deserve this love Lord, but You surround me with it! Thank you Lord!!!!

Sunday, March 25, 2018


“Why has there been this waste of perfumed oil?” Mark 14:4

When Jesus was in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of intensely aromatic oil. She broke the bottle and poured the costly genuine spikenard on Jesus’ head. Spikenard during Bible times was used to anoint those of high honor, and symbolized the very best, like the “gold standard” does today. 

Because it was very expensive, perhaps worth 3 years’ wages, some were indignant. “It could have been sold and the money given to the poor!” What these indignant people did not realize was that whatever we give to Jesus will never be wasted. Our time, our money, our resources, our gifts and talents.  Whatever we give, He will use and multiply a hundredfold. 

Many people thought Mother Teresa was wasting her life on the poorest of the poor. But she was really wasting her life on Jesus. “Each one of them is Jesus in disguise,” she declared.  "If you can't feed a hundred people, then feed just one." And then one of my favorites: “In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love."

Are we wasting our life doing small things with great love? Each one of us is unique and precious and has a role in building the kingdom of heaven. Lord, may I do my very best with the small things you have given me to do. May I not count it as a waste when I give my time, talent and treasure to Your work. 

Friday, March 23, 2018

Mighty Champion

“The Lord is with me, like a mighty champion...” Jeremiah 20:11

The difference of Christianity from other religions is grace. In Islam, I think you get to Paradise according to your good character and the good deeds you do (Quran, 16:97). In Buddhism, if you follow the Noble Eight Fold Path, you will attain Nirvana. Hinduism believes in reincarnation based on karma, which seems to be a force in a person’s present that affects what happens in future lives. 

None of these belief systems seem to have a mighty champion who does all the work for us. One of my favorite verses is from Exodus 14:13, when Moses tells the people to just stand firm when they were being pursued by Pharaoh’s mighty army with 600 of Pharaoh’s best chariots and charioteers. The Jews were caught beside the shore with nowhere to hide. 

Moses reassured, “Fear not! Stand your ground and you will see the victory the Lord will win for you today...The Lord Himself will fight for you, you only have to keep still.” We know what happened. The waters parted, the Israelites went through, and the chariots drowned when the waters closed in on them. Indeed when Jesus became a man and was crucified, He took all our sins with Him. He is our mighty champion. All we need to do is repent, believe in Him, accept His saving work for us and receive His Holy Spirit. Pure grace. Pure gift. 

Thank You Lord for grace, a way out of sin and a way into Your family. 

Thursday, March 22, 2018


“I solemnly declare it; before Abraham came to be, I AM.” John 8:58

After arguing with Jesus, the Jews picked up stones to kill Him. They were aghast that He claimed the divine name of YAHWEH. This name, frequently translated as “I AM THAT I AM”, was the answer God gave Moses when he asked, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”

In the “Cathechism of the Catholic Church”, this is what is written in verses 203 ff:

“God revealed himself to his people of Israel by making his name known to them. A name expresses one's essential identity and the meaning of one's life. God has a name; he is not an anonymous force. To disclose one's name is to make oneself known to others; in a way it is to hand oneself over by becoming accessible, capable of being known more intimately and addressed personally.
In revealing his mysterious name, YHWH ("I AM HE WHO IS", "I AM WHO AM" or "I AM WHO I AM"), God says who he is and by what name he is to be called. This divine name is mysterious just as God is mystery. It is at once a name revealed and something like the refusal of a name, and hence it better expresses God as what he is - infinitely above everything that we can understand or say: he is the "hidden God", his name is ineffable, and he is the God who makes himself close to men.
God, who reveals his name as "I AM", reveals himself as the God who is always there, present to his people in order to save them.”

Father, I thank You that You reveal Yourself to Your people. You did not hide Yourself from us, but You have revealed Your name, Your character, Your love and faithfulness for us, Your people. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

WOYWW: Truth

Started with this. 

Made more of a mess with mark makers. 

Drew a garden in pencil, then painted the background white. 

Embellished the flowers and leaves. Below is the finished work with one if my favorite quotes: “Jesus found the muddiest parts of my heart and planted flowers.” 

“...the truth will set you free.” 
John 8:32

Lawyer Abdu Murray, who was an earnest Muslim, converted to Christianity after researching for several years about Jesus and Islam. As a Muslim, Abdu knew that one of the 99 names for God was “Al Wadûd”, “full of loving kindness”. He said if the greatest ethic we are capable of is love, and the greatest possible way to express love is through self-sacrifice, would not the greatest possible being, Al Wadûd, do the greatest possible act of self-sacrifice? “You can only find that God in the Gospels,” Abdu concluded. “You can find Him in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and in Paul’s writings and the other epistles.” 

Jesus said, “You are truly my disciples if you keep obeying My teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Abdu Murray wrote a book entitled “Saving Truth: Finding Meaning and Clarity in a Post-Truth World”. Abdu found the truth after a serious 9 year investigation into the “historical, philosophical, and scientific underpinnings of the major world religions and views. He discovered that the historic Christian faith can answer the questions of the mind and the longings of the heart.” (RZIM Ministries)

Yes Lord, You are the truth and You set us free! 

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


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

God’s Friend

“Moses accordingly made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever anyone who had been bitten by a serpent looked at the bronze serpent, he recovered.” Numbers 21:9

This is a very strange event and shows us how important it is to pray to the one true God. The Jews had been complaining about their food. They said it was disgusting. This was after they had experienced many miracles from God, their freedom from slavery, their escape through the Red Sea, manna and quail from heaven, water from the rock, God thundering His words for all to hear, the pillar of fire by night and the cloud over the Tabernacle to show where they should go. One would think that the Jews who knew God personally would stop complaining but they were not grateful for God’s provision. It reminds me of the times I am ungrateful even with God’s gifts. Like when I am having a hard time with our business and it becomes a burden. 

In punishment God sent saraph serpents which bit people and many of them died. The people then realized their sin in complaining against God and also against Moses who was leading them. Moses, who bore no ill will against the people, prayed and God instructed him what to do. 

“Make a saraph and mount it on a pole, and whoever looks at it after being bitten will live.” And so it was, anyone who was bitten, looked at the bronze serpent and recovered. Today, a bronze serpent will not save us. But Moses knew God, had a close intimate relationship with Him. In Exodus 33:11, we can read that Moses spoke to God as a man speaks to his friend. In Exodus 33:17, God says to Moses, “You have found favor with Me, and you are my friend.” Do we want to be God’s friend? I know He wants to be ours.

That’s why He sent Jesus who was mounted on the cross so we could be saved, like the Jews in the desert. This Lent, let’s spend more time conversing with the Lord so we can understand and love Him more. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

The Secret

“...the promise made to Abraham and his descendants that they would inherit the world...” Romans 4:13

There are many treasures in the Bible, and many keys to unlock those treasures. “Inherit the world”? What can that mean if I can’t even pay my rent, or find a better job? 

God promised to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants, but according to verse 13, it’s not based on obedience to the law, but through the righteousness that comes from faith. Abraham is our example as a believer, and he is intensely alive today. More than 3 billion people, Christians, Muslims and Jews, venerate him. He is our spiritual father, our patriarch. 

In verse 16-17, Saint Paul writes that faith is the key! God’s promise is given to us as a free gift if we have faith like our father Abraham. Abraham believed in a God who brings the dead to life, and who calls into being what does not exist. That is the secret to faith. If God says it, we believe it and we can receive it.  The key is finding a verse in the Bible we can claim, believe and receive. We, like Abraham, should be absolutely convinced that God is able to do anything He promised! (v. 21)

Sunday, March 18, 2018

A Clean Heart

“Create in me a clean heart, O God.” Psalm 51:10

In Jeremiah 17:9, the Lord despairs of His people, if that can be said of God. He says the human heart is more tortuous than all else, deceitful and desperately wicked. I can indeed see evidence of this in what is happening around me, in my country, in the world. In Jeremiah 17:4, the Lord says, “The wonderful inheritance I have reserved for you will slip out of your hands, and I will send you away as captives to a foreign land. For you have kindled my anger into a roaring fire that will burn forever.” 

This morning I was watching a Youtube video of one of Mother Teresa’s interviews. What I read in the comment section totally shocked me. People were saying she was a monster, she was no saint, she had millions hidden in bank accounts, she wanted the sick to suffer, etc etc! In the political arena, it is no different. The comments on Facebook posts seem to come from sick, deranged minds. I learned yesterday that a fake news post on a fake news site was shared 10,000 times and the real news post on the real news site was shared 50 times! Why do we prefer to share sensational stories that are untrue? 

Be gracious to us, O God, according to Your lovingkindness. According to the greatness of Your compassion, blot out the stain of our sin. Purify us from our transgressions. Create in us clean hearts, O God. 

Saturday, March 17, 2018


“Have you also been deceived?” 
John 7:47

The Pharisees asked this question of the guards who were supposed to bring Jesus to them. The chief priests and the Pharisees already made up their minds about Jesus without investigating. God wants us to know the truth and He has put so much evidence for us, especially in this age of the internet. So many scholars have done the work for us. 

Some people still believe Jesus did not exist, but there is so much amazing substantiation that proves not only that Jesus existed and was crucified. It is an established historical fact. Even atheist and arch-skeptic historian Gerd Lüdemann admitted that Jesus’ death as a consequence of execution is indisputable. He noted that the elements in the tradition, including the empty tomb, are to be dated to the first 2 years after Jesus’ death on the cross, and certainly not later than 3 years. That is one reason why the empty tomb is not legend or myth. It takes 2 generations before a legend develops. The Christian Creed was put together, and distributed early after Jesus died, was buried and was seen by several eyewitnesses after He rose from the dead. St. Paul was the first to put it in writing about 22 years after the death and resurrection of Christ. The earliest account of Alexander the Great was written 400 years after he died. 

Lüdemann himself decided, “It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus’s death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ.” This is because of an overwhelming preponderance of sources inside and outside of the New Testament compared to other historical events. So why would an atheist like Lüdemann, who concluded that it may be taken as historically certain that Jesus appeared as the risen Christ, still stands by his unbelief? 

Lüdemann believes they all were having hallucinations! But psychologists who study the brain say that hallucinations like dreams are individual events happening in individual minds. One psychologist noted that for 500 people to have the same hallucination would be a bigger miracle than the resurrection of Christ!   

So let us not be like Pharisees and skeptics and atheists. The truth can be found if we want to know it. It is awesome to know that God wants us to get to know Him! 

Friday, March 16, 2018


“The Lord is close to the broken hearted...” Psalm 34:18

“...those who are crushed in spirit He saves.” Just yesterday I saw a post on Facebook that I shared. It was about a man who has been missing since Friday, March 9. A week ago.  I am sure it seems so much longer to his family. How many missing people are there in the world? How many children were killed in schools in the past year? How many kidnapped women and children are sold into sexual slavery? How many deal with recurring depression? There is so much heartache in our world, so much sadness and pain. 

What can we do about it? Saint Teresa of Avila wrote this poignant poem: “Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good, Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, Yours are the eyes, you are his body... Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”

We have to look around with Christ’s eyes and love with His love so we can see the broken people around us. We need not be pessimistic or hopeless because God will always make a way where there is no way. God never wastes anything, much less pain. Let us always pray with hope, and do good, remembering that what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory that will be revealed in us (Romans 8:18). 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Go Ye!

“Go down at once...” Exodus 32:7

Some of the Bible stories are amazing in that men and women like Moses hear God’s instructions. Some people, like a prominent talk show host, think that if you hear God, you are mentally ill!

Just like Moses, the Irish missionary Amy Carmichael heard God tell her, “Go ye!” I suppose it was because ever since she was very young, she would say her prayers before sleeping, she would make a space for the Lord, and ask him to sit beside her. If we do that every day, talk to Jesus, for sure He will converse with us! 

On January 13, 1892, while Amy was praying, she heard the two words, “Go ye!” as clearly as if she heard her mother’s voice. Those instructions from God started her on her missionary journey that took her to India. There, wearing a sari, dyeing her skin brown with coffee, and speaking Tamil, she was unlike any other missionary. She started her own mission house, trusting God for the funds. She saved young girls from what was essentially sex trafficking sanctioned by the parents who would sacrifice the children to the temple, trusting God to keep her out of jail for kidnapping. 

Amy stayed in India for 55 years. Her retreat home for the children and women grew larger and included a school, hospital, and orphanage. Her work in South India continues today, and it all started with Amy’s obedience to God’s Word. 

Lord, here I am! I long to hear Your voice!