Thursday, February 28, 2019

Planted by Running Streams

“Blessed is the man who delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on it day and night; He is like a tree planted by streams of running water, whose leaves never fade, who bears fruit in due season. Whatever he does prospers.” Psalm 1:2-3

I attended a workshop a couple of years ago about how to do business by following instructions from the Bible. We read about Joseph in Genesis, about how from being kidnapped and imprisoned, he became the second most powerful man in Egypt. From when very young, Joseph sought to do good. Wherever he was, when he was a slave, when he was imprisoned, God would take care of him. In Gen. 39, it said that even Joseph's master, Potiphar, recognized that the Lord was with Joseph and blessed him greatly. When Joseph was thrown in jail, he eventually was put in charge of the jail, and everything ran smoothly.

After some time Joseph was called out of jail because Pharaoh wanted him to interpret his dreams. Pharaoh found out that Joseph was the only one who could tell him that after 7 years of prosperity in his country, there would be 7 years of famine. He put Joseph in charge of taking care that Egypt would survive the famine. Joseph had to find a way to increase production of food, and store it so that at the end of the 7 years of plenty, there would be food for the next 7 years. Fact or fiction?

There are many who believe that Imhotep, the vizier of the 3rd dynasty Pharaoh Djoser, is in fact Joseph. Imhotep designed the first pyramid in Saqqara. What if he designed this step pyramid to store food? More research and debates are going on about this. But I think it is fascinating that a relatively unknown boy rose to power in Egypt and was able to help a whole nation, the Israelites, survive. 

Lord, may I continue to read Your word, and obey You, in my life, in my relationships, in business, in whatever I do. I want to be like a tree planted near running water, always getting my food from You, always fruitful until my old age! 

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

WOYWW: The Way of Peace

I’m continuing to work on some banners for Friendship Day. It’s rather slow going. 

And here’s how my table looks! A lot of scrap paper!!! 

“Those who love your law have great peace...” Psalm 119:165

Peace can be very illusive if we allow the anxieties and worries of the world to reign in our hearts and minds. But we are called to peace, it says in Colossians 3:15. Instead of anxiety, we should let the peace of Christ rule in our hearts. Easier said than done? 

When my mom was diagnosed with tongue cancer, she would sometimes be very restless and anxious. But I noticed that when I read to her from the Bible, or she would listen to preachers on YouTube, she would calm down and God’s peace would strengthen her. All her life, she turned to God and His Word. She read through the Bible from Genesis to the Book of Revelation many, many times. I can say my mom was a strong woman who found her strength in the Lord. 

I think many of us today have feelings of uneasiness and foreboding about the future. We have concerns about our children. We have apprehensions about the leadership of our country and the coming elections. If it is not that, then we stress about our work, conflicts in relationships, finances or health concerns. But we are instructed to cast our cares, all our anxieties, on God for He cares for us in a very real way. (1 Peter 5:7)

My particular favorite promise is found in Philippians 4:4-7 “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

May we imitate Saint Teresa of Jesus, who wrote, “Nada te turbe”, “Let nothing disturb you, let nothing frighten you, everything passes, God does not change, He who has God lacks  nothing.” 

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



Monday, February 25, 2019

Everyday is an Adventure

“If You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Mark 9:22

Sometimes I am like the father in the story of Mark. He was frantic because his son was possessed by evil spirits and would go into convulsions. “If You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us!!!!” I can just imagine the fear and anxiety in his voice. Yesterday at 2 am, I woke up to the insistent ringing on my phone. Bency, the guard in our building, called to say he heard an explosion inside and all the lights went off. After giving him the number of the masterlock so he could open the building, Luigi, my husband, hurriedly left to go there. I was thinking of all the important documents that I had left out of the safe because I was still working on them, and wondering how to survive if everything was destroyed in a fire. My thoughts were like a mad dog running all over the place, until I took refuge in prayer. After I calmed down, I called the guard, he said Luigi was there already, and there was no fire, only a smell of electrical smoke. They had shut down the power of the whole building. Thank You, Lord! My relief and gratefulness was so palpable, I could taste it. 

We learned later that the explosion was not inside the building but outside. A rat had eaten through one of the wires in the Meralco fuses causing the building to receive way below the 220v needed causing short circuits, and burning something in our water pump system. 

Everyday is an adventure with the Lord and although I love ordinary days when nothing happens, I know it is in our trials that God shows us who He is, and that we can depend on Him. My father talks to God often. Once his laptop refused to work, and after fiddling around with it, and finally giving up, he asked God, “Can You fix it?” He heard God answer, “Of course,” and it turned on suddenly. My dad was flabbergasted. Then there was the time his arm was painful and he prayed for God to remove the pain and God did. Sometimes God’s answers come exceedingly slow, but that’s why I say our life is an adventure. We don’t know what comes in a day. But there is always the Lord, and if we have a relationship with Him, He will never fail us.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Be Merciful

“Be merciful, just as your father is merciful.” 

Luke 6:36

Judging someone does not define who they are, but who we are. We need to always be merciful, and always try to understand what others are going through. Someone asked me what was the best way to deal with conflict. God’s way is the way of love and forgiveness because we do not know what the other person is going through. 

On a post on Facebook, a teacher asked her class what would a wife say to her husband if on a sinking ship, he gets on the last available life raft seat. While most of the students shouted out mean things, one child answered: “I believe she would have shouted, ‘Take care of our children!’”

The compassion in the child’s answer prompted the teacher to ask, “Have you heard this story before?” The student answered that he hadn’t but that was what his mom asked his father to do before she died. In the teacher’s story, when the couple took the cruise, the wife was already diagnosed with a terminal illness. When the ship was sinking, the father felt, even if his heart was breaking, that he had no choice but to leave his wife so he could raise their daughter. 

Sometimes we are quick to judge others, the taxi driver who drives recklessly, a co-worker who wounds with her words, a student who copies from her seat mate. 

“Never underestimate the pain of a person," Will Smith said, "because in all honesty, everyone is struggling. Some people are better at hiding it than others.” Next time we find ourself judging another person, something I confess I often do, let us try mercy and compassion first, and grow into the person God wants us to be. 

Friday, February 22, 2019

No Coincidence

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” Psalm 23:1

When my dad was very weak and always sleeping a couple of days ago, my sister called the Methodist Church in U.P. for a Pastor to administer the anointing of the sick. Yesterday, Pastor Apilado visited and prayed for healing. He said he wanted to write a book about my grandfather, D.D. Alejandro, who was elected in 1944 to be the first Filipino Bishop of the Methodist Church during the Japanese occupation. 

In 1915, after studying Philosophy in Asbury College in Kentucky, grandfather, or Lolo as I call him, was appointed District Evangelist for Bulacan and Nueva Ecija and became editor of the Tagalog monthly newsletter “Mabuting Balita” (Good News). He also became an instructor in Union Theological Seminary. 

Looking through Facebook after the Pastor’s visit, I found a picture of my Lolo reading, while he was in Asbury College. Before, I could just imagine how my Lolo would be surrounded by books in the library. Now I have a picture of him! A lady found the picture among many in an antique shop. Isn’t that amazing? That she took the time to search and find who would be interested in that picture? She posted it in the Filipino Methodist History page. 

I can’t help but think about how the Lord is our good shepherd who always watches out for us. He is the shepherd who always looks for the one lost sheep. No good thing is coincidence in our lives. It is not coincidence that after all the prayers for my father, he is getting stronger. It is not coincidence that led Pastor Apilado to my dad’s house. He said he was one of my Lolo’s students and he was honored to meet his relatives. How many times has the Lord shown up in different ways, every day, to guide us, to love us, to help us, to accompany us? We just need to open our eyes and see our good shepherd ever with us! 

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Thinking Like God

“You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” Mark 8:33

How does God think? First of all in Isaiah 55:8-9, He reminds us, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Contemplating this gives me great comfort for I do not want a God who is as petty, as self-centered, as greedy, as I can be. Really, I need to study God’s Word more so I will think like Him. I need to spend time listening and not always putting words in His mouth. Can we ever hope to think like He thinks? 

The proof is in the lives of the saints and martyrs! And we can be sure He wants to make us saints as well (hopefully not a martyr!) In 2 Chronicles we read, “The eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him.” Yes, my heart definitely needs strengthening for I am so obviously a coward! These days, I can see that heroes of the faith are needed and God is ready, even eager, to work more powerfully than ever in the lives of His people! Indeed, the world is watching to see what God can and will do in a life fully surrendered to Him! 

We can take God’s reassurance to St. Paul as our own: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." St. Paul concludes, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.” (2 Cor. 12:9)

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The Ark

“Noah built an altar to the Lord.” Genesis 8:20

It says in Genesis that when God smelled the sweet odor of Noah’s burnt offerings, He promised that He will never again destroy all living things. He made a covenant with Noah and his sons and he set a rainbow in the sky as a sign of that promise. 

When I see the evil around the world, I wonder if all that is keeping God from destroying us is His promise. Surely he hates the hundreds of thousands of His little children killed in the womb. Surely He abhors the tens of thousands of extrajudicial killings and the homicide cases under investigation here in the Philippines. What about plunderers and thieves and liars going scot free and running for Senate positions? 

But just like in Noah’s time, God has provided a safe haven, a bulwark, an ark, for His people. Noah and His family were saved from destruction in the safety of the ark. The Church, the barque of St. Peter, is also our safety. 

St. Augustine, in the “City of God”, compares the ark of Noah to the body of Christ. He said that just like Noah and his relatives entered through the door at the side, we enter the Church through the side of Christ, which was pierced pouring forth blood and water, symbolizing our baptism and the Eucharist. 

In Genesis 7:16, we learn that it was God who closed the door to the ark to keep the family and animals inside. Is it not God who ensures our complete safety and well-being within the body of Christ? 

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

The Holy Spirit

“Do you still not understand?” Mark 8:21

It seems amazing to me that the Lord’s chosen disciples who were with Him day and night could not understand what He was teaching them and preparing them for. There are so many passages where it says they could not comprehend what Jesus was talking about. Perhaps they were all scratching their heads in confusion!

What hope is there for us then? The difference is He has given us His Holy Spirit. I looked up what His Spirit does for us. In Acts 1:8, Jesus promised that when He leaves, the Holy Spirit will come and the disciples will receive power. There are verses in Romans which tell us that the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress and can pray for us. (8:26) Jesus assured His followers that if we love Him and obey Him, we will be given an Advocate, Helper, Comforter, and Counselor, who will never leave us, and will guide us into all truth. (John 14:15-15) The Holy Spirit can also speak for our defense if we are ever caught in a tight place in our work for Him. 

There is no limit to what we can understand if we tap into the power of Jesus’ Spirit! So we should not have any doubts. It is the enemy that sows doubts. Jesus came to do one thing, and He finished it. When He left earth, He sent His Spirit of life, truth and love. That is why nothing is impossible to us. We need only to believe. 

We can see what Jesus’ disciples did after He left them. A bunch of doubters and cowards turned into staunch defenders of the Gospel. Most of them ended up as martyrs for the faith. Today, we are able to do so much more, to reach more people than they ever did. We just need to use His Power, tap into His Power! 

Monday, February 18, 2019

How Many Loaves Do You Have?

 "How many loaves do you have?" 

Mark 8:5

Here in chapter 8 of Mark, Jesus is moved with pity for the great crowd of people. He did not want to send them away hungry. “How many loaves of bread do YOU have?" Jesus asked. The disciples had seven loaves of bread and a few fish. Jesus took the bread and fish, gave thanks, broke them and had the disciples distribute it all. After every one of the crowd of 4000 ate and were satisfied, there were fragments enough to fill over seven baskets. 

I just arrived from the Walk for Life in QC Circle. We marched around the circle to voice our support for life, and to protest the extrajudicial killings, the lowering of the age of criminal responsibility to 12 years old, corruption and other ways our leaders have not upheld basic human rights. 

Archbishop Tagle gave the homily during the mass and he said that it really depends on whose hands the bread and fish pass through. Seven loaves and a few fish were more than enough to feed 4000 people because Jesus was compassionate and full of pity for the hungry. BUT 4000 loaves of bread and fish will not be enough to feed seven people if the food passes through the hands of greedy, uncaring, corrupt, and unscrupulous people.

“How many loaves do YOU have?” Jesus asks. Let us make sure that whatever we have, we let it pass through Jesus’ hands so we can see miracles!

Blessed are You who Mourn

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

“This too shall pass” is something I tell myself when I am experiencing some hardship. My 92-year old father, who is usually so busy thinking of new projects, directing people what to do, even when he is stuck in bed, was sedated with morphine because of UTI. It’s very difficult for us to see him so thin, sleeping the day away, waking up groggy for a few seconds, unable to eat anything. He asks God to take him already in his sleep as he is frustrating to live like this. 

I remember when my mom was on her deathbed and I was scared I would be devastated when she left us. Instead God gave me a glimpse of heaven so glorious, I was ecstatic when my mom died. 

It may be hard to think of this life with all its pleasures and pain to be transitory, but it is. It is but a blink of an eye, a fragile bubble, compared to life in the heavenly Kingdom. God allows us to experience hunger here, for we should hunger after the eternal. God allows us to mourn for there is so so much to mourn about here on earth. God allows us to be poor, so we will learn about the real treasures not to be found on earth. 

We should never be satisfied with what this world has to offer, for we will leave no room for God and His gifts which come in forms we do not expect. 

Sin Lurks

“Sin is a demon lurking at the door. His urge is toward you, yet you can be his master.” 

Genesis 4:7

The story of Cain and Abel shows us what pride and resentment can lead to. Cain and Abel both made offerings to God. God looked with favor on Abel’s offering but not on the fruit of the soil that Cain brought Him. We do not know the exact reason why and can only speculate, but if only Cain asked God why and learned from it, we could have learned too! Instead, Cain attacked his only brother and killed him. 

The enemy is very cunning and as the verse says, he lurks at the door. He is always waiting to attack and destroy us. We won’t know when, how or from where, but we can be sure, there are always plans afoot to destroy our families, our church, our country, any good there is anywhere. 

We must stay vigilant, as it says many times in the Bible. And we must never lose hope. God is victorious. He is in control and He waits with us. We wait for evil to expose itself. Although evil thrives in the darkness of lies and deception, it cannot help but expose itself because of its pride and arrogance. Evil likes to make a display of its power and all its minions, all those who fall into its trap. But when it exposes itself, we can be sure it is doomed to destruction. 

We need only to look to history to see how evil men enabled by sycophants, rose to power and notoriety, only to be destroyed by their own greed and ambition. But see the Church, with enemies without and within, has stood for centuries as Jesus promised. “Now I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18

Let us stay in the light, at the side of God, and wait with Him, and fight with Him. 

Friday, February 15, 2019


“Did God really tell you not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?” Genesis 3:1

Regardless of whether or not we believe in Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, we can still learn a lot about the anatomy of sin and evil if we study the story. Many don’t believe in the devil either, but that’s exactly what the enemy wants and we play into his hands when we disregard him in our life. It is best that we do not engage him in dialogue because he is wily and deceiving and wants to lure us to his side at all cost. 

God’s laws are for our good, but the enemy, if we listen to him, will make it seem like God is unfair, and wants to restrict our freedom. The enemy insinuated to Eve and to all of us even today in his subtle way, that God’s laws are severe, and unreasonable. If so, he wants us to think, violating them is warranted and justifiable. 

We are surrounded by God’s goodness and faithfulness all the time. The deception of the enemy is that God is exacting and we should break free of all restrictions. Eve thought it was a clever move on her part to eat of the fruit of good and evil, thinking she would be like God and have her own kingdom. Instead of freedom, she was caught in the bondage of shame, guilt, and was thrown out of the garden and everyday fellowship with God. 

Today, many people choose to exercise freedom by taking drugs, drinking in excess, having sex outside of marriage, killing their own babies, cursing, lying, stealing, killing, etc. When we do this, we think we are kings and queens in our own kingdom, but whatever wrong we do will destroy us. 

Father, help us to see big and small rebellions in our lives that lead us away from you. Help us to regain our freedom which can only be found in fellowship with You. 

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Crumbs from the Lord’s Table

“Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.” Mark 7:28

This is one Bible story I am not very happy about. A Syrophoenician woman went to Jesus on one occasion, fell at his feet, and begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter. I assume that it was because she was not a Jew that Jesus answered the cryptic: “Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children to throw it to the dogs.” 

If I was this poor woman, would I have understood what Jesus meant? It was like a puzzle, a mystery that required the right answer. Fortunately, the mother had the “missing piece” she needed. She answered, “Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.”

Dogs? Dogs!!!! Even if Jesus meant puppies, or beloved pets of the household as some commentaries explain, it was still an insult. But this woman did not mind the rejection. She was humble, she was focused, she was persistent, she was resolved to get her daughter healed. I think before approaching Jesus, she asked questions about Him, “researched” in a way. Who was he? Was he really a healer, a miracle worker, prophet? Along with the tidbits, she learned He was a Jew, and some called Him the Messiah who came for the chosen people. That’s why she knew the “winning answer”!

In Matthew 15, we learn that she calls Him, “Son of David”, a title for the Messiah. She knew that the Messiah would come to save the chosen people, the Jews. That’s why she did not protest when He said He came to prepare a feast for His people and it was not right to give the food to the “dogs”, what the Jews usually called the Gentiles. 

Jesus said to her, “For saying this, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter.” Oh, happy day when our prayers are answered! Do we know how to approach Jesus? We need to be humble, focused, persistent and resolved. Ever since the early Church, the people of God prayed back to God the Words He had given them. We NEED to know God and His promises so we stand on sure ground when we pray. 

Sometimes we do not understand when God is silent, when God seems deaf to our cries. Perhaps He is trying to draw out the genuineness of our faith. Perhaps he is testing us so we learn perseverance, endurance, we learn not to give up.  

Give us, gracious Father, crumbs from Your Table, and we shall be saved. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

WOYWW: What Comes Out

Here’s what’s on my table: my new Journaling Bible, interleaved edition. I got it before Christmas but I just gathered enough nerve to use it today. It’s got a blank page every other printed page. Somehow I thought without the words for a background, the painting won’t come out as nice. Also I am not confident at all about my lettering!

“What comes out of a man, that is what defiles him.” Mark 7:20

And here is what Jesus further said: “From within the man, from his thought life, from his heart, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile.” 

Yes I must confess that sometimes my thought life disgusts me, when I think too much about myself, or when I am judgmental and self-righteous. Our thoughts can be like mad dogs, if we don’t reign them in at the start with a forceful tug, they will run away and it’s hard to catch them! 

Instead of complaining, Lord, may praise and gratitude come out of my mouth. May I have contentment in my heart, never envy or any malice towards others. Instead of pride, arrogance or a sense of entitlement, may humility and a desire for the best for others reign in my being. In all circumstances may I have an undisturbed joy, not anxiety or worry. 

May I not be blind to my faults and failures, so I can regularly align with Your will and purpose for my life, amen. 

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