Sunday, June 30, 2019

Don’t Look Back

“Elijah went over to Elijah as he was plowing twelve yoke of oxen, and threw his cloak over him.” 1 Kings 19:19

The Lord told the great prophet Elijah to anoint Elisha to be the prophet to succeed him. So Elijah in obedience went to Elisha, son of Shaphat, and threw his mantle of camel hair over him. Elisha immediately understood this to mean, “Follow me”, and made preparations to leave his way of life as a farmer. He slaughtered his oxen, burned his plow and used that to roast the flesh, and gave it all away to his plowmen. 

There are still plows being used in the province. A farmer tills his land using a plow or plough to prepare it for planting seeds. It is important that the farmer keeps his sight straight ahead so that the plow will not go this way and that. If he looks back, the furrow will be crooked.

Being a disciple of Jesus also requires that we not look back, just like Elisha. Jesus said in Luke 9:62, “No one who sets a hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”

Past mistakes, relationships gone bad, what people think of us because of our past, can keep us from being confident to do the work God wants us to do. Every one of us makes mistakes we regret, but we should not let it define us. We should learn from it, ask forgiveness and make amends, yes, but it should not keep us from growing and being fruitful.

Lord, help me to keep my sight on You!

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Taste and See

“Taste and see how good the Lord is; blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him.” Psalm 34:9

It is good to shut off the world for a time during the day and sing to the Lord. Sing with Spotify or join a Hillsong or Bethel concert on YouTube. It is balm for our spirits, it’s like oil being poured over us. In the Bible, God anoints His people with oil just as the shepherd pours oil over the sheep. A sheep not protected with oil could be annoyed by bugs in its ear canals that could eventually eat its brain. This was so painful that the sheep would bang its head on rocks or trees. 

Being centered on the Lord, taking time to praise Him, offers us a refuge from the parasites of this world. Even if we are in pain, or suffering from stress or sickness, if we listen to healing verses from the Bible, it is medicine for our bodies. (Proverbs 4:22)

Yesterday I was listening to a Tedx Talk by Dr. Lissa Rankin and she said so many studies have shown that the body can heal itself if its natural health repair mechanisms are triggered, when the nervous system is relaxed. But most of the time, in our modern society, the opposite happens. Negative thoughts and feelings, unhappy work situations, toxic relationships, make the amygdala in our brain think, “Threat, threat, threat!” Hormones like cortisol, and epinephrine trigger the “stress response” and we are put in a fight or flight mode. 

Stop! We need to taste the Lord’s rest. We need to relax and take refuge in Him. Sing a new song! 

Friday, June 28, 2019


“I will bring them back to their own country...” Ezekiel 34:13

The people of Israel have a very singular history. What other peoples were thrown into exile, scattered across oceans, and then brought back to their own land promised by God centuries ago? “I will rescue them from every place where they were scattered...I will gather them from foreign lands...I will bring them back to their own country...I myself will pasture my sheep...” (Ezekiel 34:11-16)

Charles Krauthammer wrote, “Israel is the very embodiment of Jewish continuity: It is the only nation on earth that inhabits the same land, bears the same name, speaks the same language, and worships the same God that it did 3,000 years ago. You dig the soil and you find pottery from Davidic times, coins from Bar Kokhba, and 2,000-year-old scrolls written in a script remarkably like the one that today advertises ice cream at the corner candy store."

Isn’t the history of this persecuted people that many have tried to exterminate, reason enough to believe in the God of Israel and the prophetic words in the Bible? 

In 1948, the Jewish Community in Israel under the leadership of David Ben-Gurion reestablished sovereignty over their ancient homeland. This modern independent state of Israel trace their origin back to Abraham and his descendants, who established a nation in 1300 BCE after their Exodus from Egypt under the leadership of Moses. 

As adopted sons and daughters of God, we too can be part of this miraculous journey. “You have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ...” Romans 8:14-17

Father, thank You for revealing Your character, Your love and patience, in Your Word. Thank You that even when we sin, You will be the One who will rescue us, and bring us back to where we belong, in Your loving arms! 

Thursday, June 27, 2019

On Rock

“Anyone who hears my words and puts them into practice is like the wise man who built his house on rock.” Matthew 7:24

It is certainly common sense to build our house on rock and not on sand. We all know what happens when we build our sand castles too close to the water. Little by little, our castle gets eaten up until there is nothing left. A young man told me about his family home in Baguio which was built on a cliff. When a strong earthquake hit Baguio, part of his home fell into the crevice on the mountain side. 

What about our life? We may think we are building our life solidly on rock, but if a catastrophe happens, our faith may suddenly not hold up. Our heart may develop fissures where doubts about God and His goodness fall. Many people today are enamoured by fool’s gold. They are so sure about how right their ideas and positions are, that they boldly talk and talk in public exposing what flimsy ground they stand on. 

The only sure way to be a “wise man” is to read God’s Word, embed it in our heart, and act on it. That way we will be building our life on eternal values and a foundation that cannot be shaken. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

WOYWW: By Their Fruits

I bought some Japanese brushes and I started painting them. That’s what’s on my desk! 

“By their fruits you will know them.” Matthew 7:16

What fruit am I bearing? Do I bear good fruit? I like reading about the saints, and also ordinary men and women who are known for their good fruit because then I am prodded to do the same. Sometimes in the busyness of life, we forget to serve others, to be generous, to be what God wants us to be. 

Almost all of us know Anne Frank from the diary she wrote, “The Diary of a Young Girl” which was publishing hed after she died at age 15 in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. She wrote of how her family hid in concealed rooms until they were arrested by the Nazis. In 1999, Time Magazine named her one of the heroes and icons of the 20th century, stating, “With a diary kept in a secret attic, she braved the Nazis and lent a searing voice to the fight for human dignity".

We can say Anne Frank is the fruit of her father, Otto Frank, the only one in their family to survive the brutal Nazi camps. After Anne’s books were published, many young men and women wrote Otto. He answered each and every one of those letters until he was too old to do it. One letter writer, Vassa, wrote him in Greek and Otto brought the letter to the Greek embassy to translate. She told him about her horrifying experience during the war, how her father was murdered in front of her, and how she lost interest in life itself. Then Vassa saw the play about Anne, and wrote to Otto. He wrote back, encouraging her, saying that while Anne was deprived of seeing her goals achieved, Vassa had a whole lifetime of promise before her. The correspondence continued and Vassa overcame her depression. 

He would write to each one and say, “If you want to honor Anne’s memory and the people who died, do what Anne wanted so very much- do good for other people.” 

When Cara Wilson visited Otto after years of correspondence, she saw in his little study wall-to-wall notebooks bursting with letters. And Otto showed her a notebook filled with HER letters, starting from when she was 12 years old. Otto lost his family but he gained many sons and daughters through the years. John Neiman became a priest. He would write to Sumi from Japan, who signed herself, “Your daughter, Sumi”. He advised them all. 

It is no wonder that Anne was brave, strong and hopeful. Her father was the same and encouraged many people become brave, strong and hopeful. 

Tuesday, June 25, 2019


“If you prefer the left, I will go to the right; if you prefer the right, I will go to the left.” Genesis 13:9

I wish I was always as wise, humble and generous as Abraham. In the 13th chapter of Genesis, we see that he and his nephew Lot were very rich with livestock, silver and gold, and they had too much of everything that they could not stay together. There were quarrels between their herdsmen. 

So Abraham asked Lot to choose which portion of the vast land he preferred. “If you prefer the left, I will go to the right; if you prefer the right, I will go to the left.” Lot chose the whole Jordan Plain, for it was well watered. Abraham stayed in the land of Canaan. As it turned out, many disasters befell Lot as he chose the land near the wicked people of Sodom. 

One day about 24 years ago, I needed a helper for I was pregnant and working full time. My sister brought two helpers to the house, and I was supposed to choose one as the other would go to help my mom. I suppose if I was the one to choose, I would have chosen the younger one, but instead I asked them to be the one to choose where they would stay. The older one said to the younger, “I will stay here as you will have an easier time with her mother. They have several helpers. I will be alone here.” 

Indeed, that was the best decision to let them choose. Lucy has been with us for all those 24 years! She is a second mother to Josh, my son, and she is an angel in disguise! She has a heart of gold, and she is an example to me of a servant of God. I thank God for her all the time!

Monday, June 24, 2019

Fearfully and Wonderfully

"I wonder what this child will turn out to be?" Luke 1:66

Today we celebrate the birthday of John the Baptist. He was born amidst amazing circumstances. His parents Zechariah and Elizabeth were both very old, and they had no children because Elizabeth was barren.  One day, Zechariah, a Jewish priest was on duty inside the sanctuary in the Temple, burning incense.  An angel appeared, and Zechariah was overwhelmed with fear. Who wouldn't be? But the angel told him not to be afraid. "God has heard your prayer, and your wife, Elizabeth will bear you a son!"  Angel Gabriel then proceeded to list the awesome qualities of his son, and instructed him to name him John. "He will be great in the sight of God."

"How can this be?" Zechariah asked incredulously, "We are both so old!"  The angel reprimanded him saying, "God was the one who instructed me to tell you this.  Since you did not believe, you won't be able to speak until the child is born."  True enough, Elizabeth became pregnant, and she gave birth to a baby boy. When Zechariah wrote that the baby was to be named John, he instantly began to speak. Everyone was so amazed and the news of what happened spread throughout the Judean hills.  

When we were born, God knew us too. No angel came to announce our arrival, but He formed us just as "fearfully and wonderfully" as He formed John the Baptist. We too have a purpose in our life.  We were not just dumped on earth without rhyme or reason.  When we were born, I do believe all the angels and saints rejoiced in heaven.  If an angel came to deliver the news, the angel would have listed our awesome qualities too!  

In Philemon 1:6, Paul prays that Philemon would recognize and acknowledge all the good things he has in Christ.  Each one of us has so many good qualities and gifts! We just have to recognize them, bring them out and use them. We can be just as important as John the Baptist in God’s Kingdom, if we obey God, and follow Jesus.  "Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he," Jesus tells the crowd in Matthew 11:11. 

We may not aspire to be greater than John the Baptist, but I think it would be exciting to work with God who wants to bring out the best in us, and use us. That is how we will find meaning and purpose in life. 

Sunday, June 23, 2019

A Blessing Over What is in our Hand

“Give them some food yourselves.” Luke 9:13

What did the disciples think when faced with a huge crowd and Jesus suggested they give them food? “We only have five loaves and two fish. Will we go and buy food for all these people? Where will we find the money?” This is how we think as well when faced with a problem where we do not have enough resources. 

When the disciples gave the 5 loaves and 2 fishes to Jesus, Jesus looked up to heaven and said a blessing over it. The huge crowd ate and were satisfied. There were even twelve baskets of leftovers! 

This is a beautiful story because there is a promise we can claim. Whatever we have in our hand, if we offer it to Jesus first, He blesses it. He can do the impossible with it. We all have time and it is seldom enough. When I give time to God first thing in the morning, I find I am able to do much more in a day, accomplish more than if I didn't. The same is true with money and other resources. The same is true with our gifts and talents. I get surprised with how God makes it all multiply, bloom and grow! 

Thank you for blessing whatever we have in our hands that we bring to You!

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Seek First His Kingdom

“Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

The verses in Matthew 6 are so comforting as we are naturally prone to anxiety and worry. Our enemy will always show us all the things we can worry about: the future of our country, getting sick and needing money, our children, our jobs or businesses, our own health or the health of those close to us, our finances, etc. We all have these personal bags on our backs or crosses that burden us. 

When my dad died, I suddenly had this irrational fear about our family business. What if, after 51 years, we could not make it thrive and grow? If I focused on all the things that could go wrong, it would be as if I was allowing a mad dog to drag me into dark places. I knew that I just had to take control of my wayward thoughts and place my trust in God who never failed us all these years. Matthew 6:34 reads, “Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.” 

I just need to take care of my little bag for today, trusting that God has all my cares for the future in His safekeeping.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Where is My Treasure?

“For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” Matthew 6:21

To know where my heart is, Jesus says I have to look first where I put my treasure. Where do I spend my time, my money, my talents? I should make an inventory and see where most of my money, my time, and my talents are deposited. I should look at my planner and see where most of my time goes. Is it mostly lavished on selfish pursuits? Does only a very minuscule amount go to what God considers of paramount importance? Do I spend so much of my time and money on what would make me beautiful in the eyes of the world? Or do I pursue knowledge? Or is it a relationship I value above all? We know men and women who lust over power or athletic prowess, or in this social media age, there are many who put a lot of effort into making themselves notorious and famous. 

It is not wrong to save, plan for the future and invest, as taught in Proverbs 6:6-11. We should be wise and hard working like the ant who gathers what it can so it may eat. We should just not put our affections on things that will rust, decay, and can be stolen. Money in the stock market can lose value very quickly. A house can burn down. A business may go bankrupt. Our beauty fades and we can lose our health and even our talents. How depressing! 

But we can laugh without fear for the future (Proverbs 31:25), if we walk with the Lord and have many experiences with Him by our side. This is what we have to build, a relationship with the Lord. Then we will be confident, and sure that what we build will not be destroyed and disappear   in time. 

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Our Father

“This is how you are to pray: Our Father who art in heaven...” Matthew 6:9

Jesus told his disciples that they should not babble like the pagans when they pray. I suppose it is like when we have a good, close friend. We do not need many words when we talk to them. They already know what we are thinking and feeling. We can be in silent companionship with them and they know when we are sad and when we are happy. So too with our God. “Your Father knows what you need before you ask Him” (Matthew 6:8). 

The prayer Jesus taught was revolutionary. He tells us that we do not have a cosmic, distant God, but a personal, easy to reach “ABBA” father. We are not orphans but dearly loved children who are made in His image and likeness. But He tells us that God is not only our Father, but Father of ALL. He does not exclude anyone. 

Sometimes we Filipinos can be too regionalistic. We help a person or vote for a person because he is from our province for instance. Never mind if he is undeserving or even corrupt. But when we pray the “Our Father”, we see that God means us to be part of the “same region”, the “same tribe”. We should treat all with kindness and consideration because we are all brothers and sisters loved by the same God. 

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The Inner Room

“When you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.” Matthew 6:6

Sometimes we do not have an inner room to shut out the world and pray. We can however, find someplace where we can be alone with God, where our “inner man” or in my case “inner woman” can be fed. 

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Romuald of Ravenna. He is a very good example of a man who was vigilantly praying. As a 10th century nobleman, he fell victim to youth’s follies and temptations. Then he witnessed his father, Sergius, quarrel and kill a relative in a duel. Horrified, he retreated to a Benedictine monastery to do 40 days of penance. After that, he became a monk at the Basilica of Saint Apollinare but he found the rule there too lax. Eventually, he founded some hundred monasteries of his own. Beset by worldly temptations, he always turned to prayer and taught the monks to do the same. 

“Sit in your cell as in paradise. Put the whole world behind you and forget it. Watch your thoughts like a good fisherman watching for fish. The path you must follow is in the Psalms – never leave it...Better to pray one psalm with devotion and compunction than a hundred with distraction.” 

I used to have such a hard time praying and reading the Bible. Five minutes was torture. But if we persevere at five minutes every day, we will find five minutes is not enough. Fishing is a good analogy. With fishing, we have to be patient, because it seems like nothing is happening. And then whoosh! We get a surprise gift! So exciting! 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Sow Bountifully

“...for in a severe test of affliction, the abundance of their joy and their profound poverty overflowed in a wealth of generosity.” 2 Corinthians 8:2

God’s ways are so opposite to the world’s ways that His economy is also opposite. Although He owns everything in this world and out of it, He became poor for our sake, so that by His poverty, we become rich. In 2 Corinthians chapter 8, Paul is telling us that something supernatural occurred in the churches in Macedonia. Although the Christians there were living in the midst of much trouble and hard times, they were very generous, abounding in their giving to the work of God. 

I am sure we feel that we live in troubled and challenging times. What is God’s solution? That we look for ways to be a blessing to others, to be more generous with what we have. “Give whatever you can according to what you have. If you are really eager to give, it isn’t important how much you are able to give. God wants you to give what you have, not what you don’t have.” (2 Cor 8:11-12)

“He who sows sparingly will reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will reap bountifully.” (2 Cor. 9:6) God’s promise is that He will generously provide for all we need and we will have plenty left over to share with others. (2 Cor. 9:8) Let us stand on this promise, believe it and claim it. God’s promises are worth more than gold in the Central Bank. 

Monday, June 17, 2019

Poor Yet Possessing All

“ poor yet enriching many; as having nothing and yet possessing all things.” 2 Corinthians 6:10

Saint Paul describes himself thus and many of the saints were also poor yet enriching many; had nothing and yet possessed all things. They found the treasure that is worth more than worldly goods. Many saints gave away their wealth and chose a life of poverty in order to pursue the “higher calling”. St. Thomas Becket, St. Katherine Drexel, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, St. Clare and St. Francis of Assisi, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Melania the younger, were all born to great wealth, and some even nobility. They chose to turn away from all the trappings of the “good life” to have a simple life to focus on God. 

In our modern time, we saw how Mother Teresa and her missionaries, even if they had no riches of their own, were able to help so many. They cared for the abandoned, whether they were refugees or prostitutes, people with AIDS, lepers, mentally ill or street children. They opened houses for the poor and aged, day care centers and soup kitchens around the world. 

Father, show us the work we should do, where we are, with what we have. We too want to help build Your Kingdom. Mother Teresa said, “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.”

Sunday, June 16, 2019

So Much More

Jesus said to His disciples, “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now.” John 16:12

From “The Anawim Way”, today’s meditation - -

We cannot fully understand the mystery of God, and we are arrogant if we demand that we should be able to! The Cathechism, quoting St. Augustine, tells us: “Even when He reveals Himself, God remains a mystery beyond words: ‘If you understood Him, it would not be God.’” (CCC 230)

God reveals Himself to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This revelation of His inner self is an extraordinary gift to us. He did not have to tell us who He is. He could have left us in the darkness of ignorance. Instead, He bathed us in a light brighter than our mind can comprehend. It makes no sense to grow discouraged because the sun is too bright to look at; we can and we should delight in the beauty and the warmth of the sunlight, even though we cannot stare at the sun. When someone takes us into his confidence, sharing a deep secret, we do not complain about what he has not said. Rather, we feel deeply privileged, honored that he has trusted us with personal knowledge about himself. How much greater a privilege it is to be given personal knowledge of God. He shows extraordinary trust in us, sharing with us the deepest mystery of his inner life. Our response should be gratitude, wonder and love. - -

As I ponder these words, my mind boggles at what God has chosen to reveal to us. Jesus said there is so much more, but we cannot bear it all. I am reminded of a story about a woman watching a father putting things in a little boy’s basket at a supermarket. The woman asked the little boy, “Isn’t your basket too heavy for you?” And the little boy answers in confidence, “Oh no, my father knows exactly how much I can carry.” 

Father in heaven, thank You that You want to reveal Yourself to us. Thank You that You give us more and more of Your truth as our faith and trust in You grows. 

Saturday, June 15, 2019

New Creature

"If any man is in Christ he is a new creature..." 2 Corinthians 5:17

I love the story of Brian “Head” Welch of the super successful heavy metal band Korn. After founding the band in 1993, he left it in 2005, even if his band had multi-platinum albums and they were about to sign a 20 million dollar deal. He just felt like the biggest loser because he was struggling with addictions to alcohol and Meth and Xanax. But what he was most afraid of was ruining the life of his perfect “Shirley Temple” daughter the way he was screwing up his life. 

One day he found himself in church listening to a pastor in jeans. “Christ just wants to live inside of you. God is real. Speak with Him. All the bad stuff will fall away." It was exactly what Brian needed to hear. He got a Bible and started reading while he was high. He pleaded with God to help him, to free him from the pain, the addictions. "Please take these drugs from me!" He had been reading the Bible for a week, when he heard, "I love you." It was so real, it took over the high of the drugs. God convicted him of his sin and in 2 weeks, his addiction to drugs and alcohol was gone.

In 2013, he rejoined Korn after God called him back. He is able to see hare with people who would never listen to a pastor or priest about God’s love and forgiveness. Last year, he and his daughter Jennea came out with a documentary entitled, “Loud Kraft Love” about their roller coaster journey. Brian said of his daughter, “She’s an angel God sent into my world to wake me up. She raised me as I raised her. 

Yes indeed, Brian "Head" Welch, with his numerous tattoos, even one on his knuckles that reads "Jesus", is a new creation! And just like it says in 2 Corinthians 5:20, he is an ambassador for Christ where he is. We should be ambassadors for Jesus where we are! 

Friday, June 14, 2019

Treasure in Earthen Vessels

“We hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7

I have been reading the short stories in the book “Chicken Soup for a Woman’s Soul.” One of the stories that impressed me was that of Mary Kay Ash. Like many women in the book, she had a hard childhood, a difficult time trying to earn a living, and although she made good sales for the company she worked for, it was the men who would get promoted. When her first husband divorced her, she was left with three children to support. We can say she was “afflicted in every way, but not constrained; perplexed but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed...” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

In 1963, after quitting from a job where women were not given the same opportunities as men, she started her own cosmetics company with $5,000.00 and her family backing her up. Her sons and her mom always said, “You can do it, Mary Kay.” They saw the gold in her earthen vessel. 

Mary Kay’s company was founded not on competition, but on the Golden Rule, on praising people to succeed and on the principle of placing faith first, family second and career third. It was a company – as Mary Kay Ash would 

say – "with heart." Mary Kay died in 2001, but what she built lives in. 

Let’s not forget we all have this treasure in earthen vessels. Sometimes adversity brings it out.  Other times we just need others to encourage us and say, “You can do it!” 

Thursday, June 13, 2019

A Jot and a Tittle

“For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” Matthew 5:18, KJV).

 What is a jot and what in the word is a tittle? It seems as if these jots and tittles are all important. A jot, which looks like an insignificant apostrophe, is the tenth letter in the Hebrew alphabet and the smallest. A tittle is even smaller than a jot. It is just a pen stroke that can differentiate one Hebrew letter from another. 

Is Jesus saying that even the smallest letter of the law, and the merest pen stroke, is so significant that it will not pass away? A huge tower like the World Trade Center can crumble to nothing in a few hours. Three islands disappeared from the face of the earth in 2018. Several airplanes have gone missing with no trace at all. 

God’s Word will not disappear or change: “Your word, LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens” (Psalm 119:89). The gospel is living and active, it is not static. It changes lives: “‘The word of the Lord endures forever.’ And this is the word that was preached to you” (1 Peter 1:25). We need to let it sink into our hearts so we too will find meaning every day of our lives.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

WOYWW: You Fool!!!

I’ve been carving erasers to use on my canvas, to make marks on it. 

This is how my canvas looks now. 

“Whoever is angry with someone will be liable to judgment.” Matthew 5:22 

Jesus also said, “Whoever says, ‘You fool’, will be liable to the fires of hell.” I do not know what it is about social media, but people can get really nasty in making comments about the silliest things. I like Downton Abbey and I follow the Facebook group on all things Downton. You would think people who like Downton Abbey would be gentile, respectful of others, careful about what they say, but recently, because President Trump visited the Queen of England, Word Wars have erupted in different fronts!!!! It was absurd reading how people could insult strangers at the flimsiest of excuses! 

Prior to the Philippine elections, there was a lot of mudslinging, irrational commenting and lying. It was very tempting to join in the fray because that is what the “other side” with all its taunting, wanted. We have to remember that the “other side” is always the devil and his cohorts. Our enemy is like a prowling lion on the look out for our weaknesses. 

Come Holy Spirit! Help us to see our enemy clearly, and not fall prey to his many traps! 

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Let Your Light Shine!

“Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:16

This seems in contradiction to the verse in Matthew 6:3 which says, “When you give … do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing”. In the verse before that, we read, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.”

When we were going through my father’s things after he died, we found among other things, an envelope with letters from a woman. Reading through it, she was thanking him for some contribution my father made. My sister said we should find out who she is and why daddy was helping her. So last week, we went to the address on the envelope, and met an 86 year old lady. She is very active in the Methodist church, and was a deaconess for several years. Her husband was a Pastor who had passed away some time ago. She was very effusive about the financial help my father gave for the Preacher’s Kids association, for a concert of Arnel de Pano, and even help for her own little apartment. Our visit was very rewarding for she was even a student of my grandfather, the late Bishop D.D. Alejandro, and she told us stories about him as well. 

When my mother died, several women came up to me also, telling me how my mother helped them when they needed it. She would give money to start their livelihood, or for their medicine, etc. My parents did not announce their good deeds, but certainly their light is still shining now! 

Monday, June 10, 2019

Behold Your Mother

Then Jesus said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” John 19:27

How important was it to Jesus that we see Mary as our mother? So important that even when He was in pain, barely hanging on to life, Jesus says to Mary, “Woman, behold your son.” Then He assigned His mother to John, His beloved disciple. “Behold, your mother,” and the disciple took her with him into his home. 

Mary has a unique role in our salvation history. She is our mother, the mother of all the faithful. She is our example, a true and faithful disciple of the Lord, who obeyed God and embraced her calling, no matter how difficult and painful. 

She is the “woman” foreshadowed in the first Messianic prophecy in the Book of Genesis: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers.” (Genesis 3:15) She is the “woman clothed with the sun” in Revelation 12, who is victorious over the evil dragon who waits to devour her son who is destined to rule over all the nations. She is also the “woman” who asked Jesus to perform His first miracle even when He said it was not yet time. (John 2:1-11) 

Always, always, Mary will point us to Jesus. As our mother, she will always say, just as she told the servants at Cana, “Do whatever He tells you.” 

Sunday, June 09, 2019

The Gift of Tongues

“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues...” Acts 2:4

The gift of tongues or glossolalia is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is quite controversial and ironically, I just received a letter from an aunt and she wrote that she attended a Pentecostal group and when they spoke in tongues, she told them she was a Catholic and to read what St. Paul said about it. So they stopped doing so in her presence! 

Yes, St. Paul said it would better to speak to others in a language they understood than to utter tongues (1Cor.14:19). But he also said he speaks in tongues for the whole congregation (v. 18), meaning he prays for them in tongues. This is one of the least of the gifts of the Spirit, but I want to have any gift God bestows, from the least to the greatest. 

We always give Life in the Spirit seminars so that more people can experience victory in their life, and guidance. But a life in the Spirit is an ongoing thing, we can’t stop after one seminar. We gave it in our business a long time ago. All of us were just new in the Charismatic renewal and we were doing it in one crowded room in our old building. There was no space. We did not know what we were doing. But the Spirit swept in anyway. Even before we laid hands, many of our employees were falling down, even on the backs of chairs and on the floor. They also received the gift of tongues. 

Yes Lord, come in Your own special way to each one of us! This Pentecost Sunday, show qus Your presence, Your power, Your love! 

Saturday, June 08, 2019

Let Them Be

“What concern is it of yours? You follow me.” John 21:22

St. Peter was impulsive, and outspoken. In John 21, he was curious about Jesus’ plans for John. “What about him?” he asked. Jesus’ answer may be His answer to us when we complain about others escaping responsibilities, or even when we feel overwhelmed by the corruption and wrong doing around us. 

My dad was a Methodist and thought that all the processions and feasts for the saints we Catholics have is, to put it mildly, over the top. Towards his last years, he had many conversations with God. One of them concerned the what seemed to him and many others, insane, procession of the Black Nazarene in January. He would watch it with amazement on TV. Thousands of devotees walked barefoot for almost 20 hours with the 16th C black statue of Jesus while it was wheeled to the Luneta in a carroza. The streets would be so crowded with people that no cars could pass for hours. My dad asked God in his puzzlement, “What do You think of that?” And God answered him just three words. “Let them be.” Those three words always reminded him to not grumble or complain. My dad took it to mean, “That’s not your concern, it’s my concern. I love them as much as I love you. Concern yourself with your own business.” 

Like Peter, we may be curious or even judgemental about others. Some other peoples’ lives may seem too easy, or too hard. Maybe we think our neighbor needs to be taught a lesson. Maybe someone in our church group is too complacent. Maybe people in government need true conversion. Jesus says to us, “Be concerned with your own life, your own growth, your own conversion. Follow me. Let me take care of the others.” 

Friday, June 07, 2019

Do You Love Me?

“Simon, son of John, do you love me?” John 21:15, 16, 17

I am reminded of the song in the movie, Fiddler on the Roof, “Do You Love Me?” 

Tevye: Do you love me?

Golde: Do I what?

Tevye: Do you love me?

Golde: Do I love you?

With our daughters getting married and this trouble in the town,

You're upset. You want out. Go inside. Go lie down. Maybe it's indigestion.

Tevye: Golde, I'm asking you a question. Do you love me?

Golde: You're a fool!

Tevye: I know. But do you love me?

Golde: Do I love you?

For twenty-five years, I've washed your clothes, Cooked your meals, cleaned your house, Given you children, milked the cow.

After twenty-five years, why talk about love right now?

Tevye: The first time I met you was on our wedding day. I was scared.

Golde: I was shy.

Tevye: I was nervous.

Golde: So was I.

Tevye: But my father and my father said we'd learn to love each other.

So, now I'm asking, Golde...

Tevye: Do you love me?

Golde: I'm your wife!

Tevye: I know. But do you love me?

Golde: Do I love him?

For twenty-five years, I've lived with him,

Fought with him, starved with him.

For twenty-five years, my bed is his.

If that's not love, what is?

Tevye: Then you love me?

Golde: I suppose I do.

Tevye: And I suppose I love you, too.

Together: It doesn't change a thing, but even so, After twenty-five years, it's nice to know! 

If at the end of my life, Jesus asks, “Do you love me, Patsy?” I can answer, “For all these years, I’ve tried to get to know You, I’ve spoken with You, pleaded with You, strained my ears to hear Your voice, studied Your Word, if that’s not love, what is?” 

Jesus will ask in His still, small voice that strikes at my heart, “Did you take care of my sheep?” 

Thursday, June 06, 2019

Fullness of Joys

“You will show me the path to life, fullness of joys in Your presence, the delights at Your right hand forever.” Psalm 16:11

Yesterday evening I was listening to someone on TEDx Talks, a lady preacher who claimed to have heard God speak to her in a fast food joint. Most of what she said I agreed with, about how God will speak to us if we ask questions, wait and listen. What I didn’t agree with is she put Christianity on par with other religions and beliefs. She was being politically correct, and she probably would not have been invited to speak in that venue if she was not of that confidence. 

We either believe Jesus is God or we don’t. If we believe He is God, then we must believe His message, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: NO MAN cometh unto the Father, but by me”. (John 14:5) In Acts 4:12, the Apostle Peter said of Jesus, "Salvation is found in NO ONE ELSE, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." 

We either believe these claims from Jesus and His disciple or not. Some may say this is too narrow-minded and mean spirited, even intolerant. Is it? Jesus revealed to us a loving God, a God who wants a personal relationship with us, who wants to “show us the path to life, fullness of joys”, who calls us to repentance so we can be saved. Is there any other belief system that reveals God to us like that? 

I think God has a perfect plan for mankind. We were created in love. Just because we cannot understand His plan, and perhaps think we have a better, more equitable way, does not make it ‘false news’. The better response is to obey Him and spread the gospel, because it is of eternal importance for us and for others we can reach that we believe. We can leave all those we have no access to, the millions who have not heard the gospel, to a loving God who knows much more than we do, and who cares much more than we ever could. 

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Blessed to Give

I use a lot of found stuff to make marks on my painting. 

Bubble wrap. 

And here’s an old placemat I cut up. 

So far, this is what it looks like!!! 

The Lord Jesus Himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Acts 20:35

It is good to belong to a community of people who know it is more blessed to give than to receive. I have many examples of generous people. My brother-in-law once came upon a Sri Lankan missionary and his family. They were buying peanuts on the sidewalk and did not seem to have enough money for a meal. So my brother-in-law who had a meeting in Max’ Fried Chicken, invited them to Max and treated the whole family. 

Whenever there is a need, I am quite confident that if I ask for help, there are many who will respond. I posted on Facebook that the flimsy homes of the Aetas in Floridablanca were destroyed by the last earthquake, and many gave P1,000- P5,000 to help them. Every year we give 300 plus gift bags to the inmates of Quezon City Jail at Christmas time. We always have more than enough donations to make the inmates happy. The bags are packed full with shorts, t-shirts, cookies, soap, packed food, coffee, etc. 

When one member of our community fell and hit his head and the family needed so much money for the operation and procedures, we held a fund raising, and asked for things to sell. So many responded, thank God, to ease the burden of the young wife and mother. My garage and lanai was filled with things to auction and sell, clothes, books, toys, even jewelry. Then there was a young member of our community who was hit by a fast moving jeep. The outpouring of support was also very generous. The doctors held little hope for her but more than the financial help, she was surrounded by the power of prayer. She is so much better now! It is a delight to see her attending our community meetings with her big smile. I have no doubt, she is convinced that she is surrounded by love and prayers. 

Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” If we want to make a good life, we have to learn to be more generous with what we have. 

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

A Dream and a Vision

“I am not responsible for the blood of any of you, for I did not shrink from proclaiming to you the entire plan of God.” Acts 20:27

Saint Paul was a brave man, a man with a vision and mission and purpose. Even if he was tortured, imprisoned, beaten almost to death, he did not shrink from what he believed he had to do. There are very few of us who are like that. A little disappointment, a little detour along the way, and we may give up and say, “I did all I could. There is nothing more I can do.”  

Yesterday my family and I watched “Quezon’s Game”, a movie about Manuel Quezon, the second president of the Philippines, and how he and his poker buddies were able to save 1,200 Jews from extermination by the Nazis. How does one differentiate a statesman from a politician? Perhaps a statesman has a mission and a dream bigger than himself. He leaves a legacy where he is able to move a whole people to believe in the same good thing, and act to make it happen. Obstacles face them left and right but they don’t give up. 

We too need to have a dream and a mission and a purpose bigger than ourselves in line with what God wants us to do. That way we will certainly see God move and we can accomplish what we thought we couldn’t! 

Monday, June 03, 2019

All God’s Gifts

“And when Paul had imposed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came over them. And they were speaking in tongues and prophesying.” Acts 19:6

Many people, even Christians, do not believe that this happens today, that the Holy Spirit manifests Himself through many gifts, including but certainly not limited to the gifts of tongue and prophecy. When I was young, my family would attend many prayer rallies. Several times in our own prayer meetings we would have guests with very strong gifts of the Spirit. They would extend their hands and people would fall down, slain in the Spirit. 

We also joined several Life in the Spirit seminars. I was too interested in the crying, the different tongues and the noise in general, that no matter how long hands were laid on me, I didn’t feel anything, and nothing happened. 

But hands were imposed upon me and that meant the “Holy Spirit came upon me”. Also, one speaker told a story of a man who after being laid hands on, started speaking nonsense to fool the congregation. He then announced that he had just made up all the “tongues”. Somebody suddenly spoke up revealing, “You were speaking in my language, sir, Swahili.” 

After that night, I started making nonsense sounds all throughout the day to show God I meant business, that I really wanted this least of gifts. In the evening when I got home, I closeted myself in my room, and sat in my rocking chair, continuing to make nonsense sounds. After maybe an hour or so, I felt the sounds coming from inside me, like an uncontrollable fountain. The nonsense did not feel like nonsense anymore but genuine praise in another language. I stayed there in my room in ecstasy for I don’t know how long, drunk with heavenly wine. Then I prayed to understand, and the tongues became English for a while. 

Today, I always use tongues to praise God, to intercede, especially when I do not know what to pray for, when I am at a loss for words. God has given us this remarkable gift! Let us desire to have all the gifts God wants to give us! 

Sunday, June 02, 2019

Glorious Inheritance

"I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people.” Ephesians 1:18

There are many stories of people receiving an unbelievable inheritance from a long lost relative or even a friend. Sergey Sudev received 950 million euros from an uncle he had not seen in more than 10 years! Three abandoned Peladi children inherited 100 million dollars from their estranged wealthy grandmother. Waitress Cara Wood inherited $500,000 from a regular customer she was kind to. 

Who doesn’t like stories like this? But we all have a glorious inheritance we take for granted. And that is exactly what Paul is praying for, that our eyes be opened to see more clearly the riches we have in Christ! We do not have to die to possess this glorious inheritance. We can have it here and now if we are read Jesus’ last will and testament, the Bible. He has given us all His secrets in order to possess the treasure we can possess in Him. 

Saturday, June 01, 2019

In My Name

“...whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you.” John 16:23b

Some time ago my sister needed a passport urgently. There was no time to go through the regular procedures. We had to ask someone with a position high up in the DFA for help. She did not have to go through calling to get an appointment, and when she reached the DFA, she was treated like a VIP, bypassing all the usual steps. All she needed to get through was that all important name. 

Jesus said in John 16 that if we asked anything of the Father in His name, He will give it. In His name. That does not mean we can ask anything and the Father will grant it. It has to be in accordance to His will. Just like if my sister asked for a diplomatic passport, it would not have been granted to her, if we ask anything outside of God’s will, it will also not be given to us. 

So what is the use of “whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you...ask and you will receive”? Some people may say it is totally useless! Of course it isn’t!!!! If we did not know the DFA consul, my sister could not have gotten her passport in time. 

We need to KNOW Jesus, His character, His promises, what He wants to do for us, what He wants us to do. We have to have Jesus as our friend not only when we need to ask for something. Then we will know what to ask for because we can ask in His name.