Wednesday, July 31, 2019

God’s Highest Treasure

My work desk in the garden. And below piles of magazine pages, ephemera, etc. I cut up and use for my collages. 

“When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.” Matthew 13:46

The two most expensive pearls in the whole world were found off the island of Palawan here in the Philippines. One, the “Pearl of Allah” is valued at $35 million and was found in 1934. A more recent find, little more than 10 years ago, is yet to be named. A fisherman found it inside a giant clam. It is huge, more than 2 feet long, and 1 foot wide and weighs 75 pounds! The fisherman hid it under his bed, his house burned down, and the pearl survived. The pearl is valued at an amazing 100 million dollars! 

Even if I sold all I had, I could not buy that pearl! And what in the world would I do with it? 

Jesus gave all He had, even His very life for something He considered His pearl of great price. Mankind. Are we worth it? He must have seen beyond the surface because when I look around me, when I read the news, and the comments on Facebook, it seems like people are getting worse every day! 

I remember going to a pearl farm in Hanoi a couple of years ago. The guide showed us these ugly, mud encrusted shells. We had to dig into all that muck to find the pearl. I know Jesus sees the pearl in us, encased in sin and the mud of our own selfishness. We are the pearl of great price, God’s highest treasure. Why else would He be willing to give up His glory, His power, to be crucified by the very men He came to save, just so He could ransom us from our hopeless state. He is relentless in His pursuit of us! 

We too should try to see our brothers and sisters as pearls of great price. How do we bring ourselves and those we come into contact out of the muck? Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. 

Thank You Lord! I cannot imagine what You went through for us! 

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Precious Blood

“If I find favor with You, O Lord, do come along in our company.” Exodus 34:9

Back in Moses’ time, they did not have churches, they had meeting tents. Moses would enter the tent and talk to God face to face, as one man speaks to another. Moses asked, “If I find favor with You, O Lord, do come along in our company. This is indeed a stiff-necked people; yet pardon our wickedness and sins, and receive us as Your own.” God had to make a way so that even in our wickedness and sins, He could receive us as His own. 

He had to send His Son as a sacrifice. The blood of Jesus is the only way that we can find favor with God. Jesus’ blood won our salvation. One day, an atheist and the German evangelist Richard Bonnke faced each other on a radio show. The atheist scoffed, “How can you claim the blood of Jesus is powerful? It has been around for more than 2,000 years but the world is worse than before!” Richard Bonnke then answered, “Soap has been around since before Christ but there are many people who still go around dirty. Do you know how soap works? You have to wash yourself with soap before you will get clean. Even if you work in a soap factory, surrounded by soap, you will not get clean if you do not use it.”

Father in heaven, thank You for the saving blood of Your Son Jesus. Scripture says that evil is defeated by the Blood of the Lamb, so we ask that His Blood cover all who are in need of protection (all civil, religious and lay leaders, our families, friends, all those for whom we have promised to pray, and ourselves). We mark the borders of our nation and the doorposts of our churches, homes, schools and offices with the Precious Blood of Jesus. Amen

Monday, July 29, 2019

One Thing

 "One thing is required..." Luke 10:42

What is that one thing that Jesus says is required?

Can you imagine if Jesus visits your home- Your name is Martha, and you welcome Him. Your sister Mary sits at His feet and listens to everything He is saying. You want to listen too. His Words pull You, and you want to learn from Him. But you have to be in the kitchen because you are preparing a big dinner for Jesus and His disciples. You get really frustrated, and you feel it is unfair that Mary is not helping in the kitchen. So you say something. "Lord, are You not concerned that Mary has left me all alone to prepare everything? Tell her to help me!"

I guess this is born out of Martha's frustration that she wants to be at His feet too! I would have thought that Martha would be happy Mary was doing the "entertaining" of their guest! Jesus rebukes her gently, " Martha, Martha, you are anxious and upset about many things; one thing only is required. Mary has chosen the better portion and she shall not be deprived of it." Jesus, who knows Martha's heart and mind, knows she is upset about many things. He wants her to sit down at his feet too. Dinner can wait. First things first.

In John 11;40, when Jesus returned to their village because his friend and their brother Lazarus died, he asked that the stone be rolled away. Martha protested, "Lord, Lazarus has been dead for 4 days. There will be an awful stench!" Jesus turned to her, "Martha, Martha,did I not say to you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?" 

All of Jesus' conversations with Martha and Mary have not been recorded, but we too can have our own conversations with the Lord. When we are bothered and upset about many things, Jesus knows. He calls us to have a conversation with Him. To sit at his feet. Dinner can wait. Laundry can wait. Worrying can wait. Only one thing is required. That we listen to him. That we believe. That is the only way we will see the glory of God.

Yes Lord, I will listen. I believe! I want to see Your glory!

Sunday, July 28, 2019


“Abba, Father...” Luke 11:2

This is what was written in pencil on my Bible. I don't know from where I copied it, except for the last part:

The “Our Father” was a secret prayer. The first Christians were taught this only after years of learning and baptism.

“OUR Father in heaven…” shows necessity for us to be missionaries, with the goal that God would be known to all. By saying “ABBA Father” Jesus shows that prayer is a disposition of the heart, not just a matter of the right time words. Thus the Lord’s prayer is based upon an intimate relationship with God. Similar to the 18 benedictions and the Kaddish of synagogue liturgy, to which He added addressing God as Father. This suggested a childlike trust, intimacy and readiness of access. (The Eighteen Benedictions are praises and petitions directed to God that ask for wisdom, forgiveness of sins, help in times of trouble and so on. The Kaddish asks that God’s name be hallowed and glorified throughout the world, and that God may soon establish his Kingdom in its fullness.)

“Hallowed be thy Name..” May Your Name be known on this earth. Reveal the holiness of Your Name so it may be respected and revered by all. Make known Your greatness, that all praise Your majesty!

“May Your Kingdom come…” Let it come now Father! Let Your will be done in our lives. Show us Your will. Give us the zeal to accomplish it here on earth. ,as it is in Heaven. Father, free us from selfishness, fear, worry, and sorrow, and let the joy of Your Kingdom come into our hearts.

“Give us this day our daily bread…” Father, the storehouses of heaven are Yours. Open them to us, and pour out to us the treasures of Your wisdom, knowledge, courage, and patience, self-control and love. We hunger and thirst for you- feed us with the Bread of Life, Your Son, Jesus. Fill us with His presence and power, His healing and compassion. Nourish and sustain Your life in us today.

“Forgive us our trespasses…” Forgive us our unbelief, our grumbling, and our fear. Cancel the debt we’ve amassed through our lack of discipline and restraint, and through our bitterness, resentment and disregard for others. Father, You make all things new: Make our hearts and minds new! Not just ours, but all on the face of the earth! Help us to forgive those who have hurt us as completely as we want You to forgive us.

‘Jesus gave us a prayer which in its simplicity contrasts sharply with many of the very fulsome formulations used in Jewish and Greco-Roman prayers of His day. Despite its brevity, Tertullan called the Lord’s Prayer “truly a summary of the whole Gospel”- the expression of our chief beliefs, as the first disciples had wanted. In it we ask, not only for all the things we can rightly desire, but also in the sequence that they should be desired.’ (Cathechism of the Catholic Church, n 2763, citing Thomas Aquinas)

Saturday, July 27, 2019


“An enemy has done this!” Matthew 13:28

Jesus told a very illuminating parable about the sower of good seed for wheat, and how he had an enemy who sowed weeds in his field. He told his slaves not to pull up the weeds because the wheat may be uprooted as well. This shows why God allows evil to prosper in our society. He also allows us the freedom to listen to the enemy when he tries to sow bad seeds of doubt, lack, insecurity, anxiety, fear, and deception in our heart. What word we listen to will transform us. 

When Rob and Aliss Creswell were a young couple with two kids, they wanted everything. A nice house, a car, etc etc. They bought into the voice selling them these dreams they could not afford and did not work for. One day Rob woke up with 5 crippling mortgages and an excruciating headache. He prayed in desperation to God, surrendering to Him, and asking what to do. He wanted to sell his house. God spoke to him and his wife Aliss, saying, “Wait.” They waited patiently on God and His instructions, all the while trying to get God’s mind for their lives. After 11 months, God then said, “Now you sell.” At that time the prices for house and lots in their area escalated so much that they were able to pay their mortgages, buy a new house and car in cash, and go to Bible School in the US for a year. 

What voice are we listening to? The world’s with all its fake news and lies about what will make us happy? There is only one truth and that is the one that comes from our Maker. Just like a manufacturer of a cellphone or a car, an air conditioner or stove, knows how to take care of its products, so does our Creator know what is best for us. Let us read our manual, the  Bible. 

Friday, July 26, 2019

Keep Holy

“Remember to keep holy the Sabbath day. Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord, your God.” Exodus 20:8-10

On Sundays, my family attends mass, and a prayer meeting. But when I get home, it takes a lot of will power not to work, but just to rest. There are so many things to do! 

It is important to note that God blessed the 7th day, and declared it holy, sanctified, hallowed. When something is holy, it is set apart, dedicated or consecrated to God. We are NOT the ones to make it holy by our actions. We are supposed to KEEP it holy.

Eric Liddell, a Scottish athlete, immortalized in the film "Chariots of Fire", was determined to keep Sunday, the Christian Sabbath, holy. At the 1924 Summer Olympics in Paris, he refused to run in his best event, the mens 100 meters, because the heat was held on a Sunday. So he chose to compete in the 400 meters even if after practicing for this for several months prior to the Olympics, his time was not good enough. 

Before he ran the 400 meters, an American Team masseuse ran up to him to give him a piece of paper with a bible verse- "Those who honor me, I will honor." 1 Samuel 2:23. Eric Liddell won the 400 meters, and broke the world record.

Indeed, if we keep the 7th day holy, by resting, refraining from work, going to church and worshiping Him with others as Isaiah 16:23 and Lev. 23:3 proposes, and helping others, God will see that we honor Him and put Him first. And His promise to us if we do this? He will honor us! 

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Therefore Speak

“We have the same spirit of faith...we too believe and therefore speak.” 2 Corinthians 4:13

I like listening to men and women of faith. I like listening to them tell their stories, their personal testimonies. It’s so exciting to listen to Lilian de Fin recounting about when she went to a hospital with a group of believers. They asked to pray for the sick in a ward. Everyone wanted to be prayed for except one man. “No, thank you,” he said. Two days later, they came back and the ward was empty except for one man. He got excited and said, “You were the ones who came and prayed over everyone here!!! They were all healed! Please pray for me!” She has many other wonderful stories we can listen to on YouTube. She grew up in Africa and comes from a long line of pastors and preachers. Her great grandfather is the one of a kind Smith Wigglesworth. 

We do not have to come from a long line of pastors, and do not have to be a great anything to tell our stories. We just have to see with our eyes that God is working today as well. His timing is marvelous to behold. I have to rely on Him a lot in our business because I am not really a business person. I do not understand our financial statement and my eyes gloss over if I have to read contracts or any legal document or anything from the bank. I thank God that He looks out for us. Recently I have been worrying that our working money in the bank was getting lower than I was comfortable with. We are opening three new stores and the cost of security deposits, advance rent, renovation and merchandise seriously depleted our money situation. So of course I have been praying and praying and praying. 

Yesterday, I finally received in my hands after months of asking, filling up and signing forms, the statement of accounts from a bank my mom had Time Deposits in before she died. We had encashed all those checks but I wanted to make sure nothing was left in savings accounts. The statement showed there was enough money for what we needed! To me, that money was like it just dropped from heaven! Truly I praise and thank God for His goodness and generosity! Always, always, always, we can depend on Him! 

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

WOYWW: Overloaded

Here is what’s on my desk today. Flowers I painted some time ago. I am only cutting them up now! 

“Some seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it.” Matthew 13:7

This well known Parable of the Sower and the Seed teaches us many things. The Word is seed and only the seed which falls on good soil will bear much fruit. Perhaps we read the Bible and pray in the morning, but during the day, the cares and burdens of the day suffocate the Word. We do not stop to praise God for the good, and lift up our challenges. We do not stop for some quiet time to see our day and the people who bother us with God’s eyes. Irritation and anger comes in, even gossip. The seed has no chance to grow amidst these “thorns”. 

In a little town in Russia a long time ago, women would have to carry their huge baskets on their shoulders to bring to the market to sell. They walked a long way and it was very hard work. We can imagine how happy they were when they built train tracks through their little town. They would be able to ride the train to market. On the first day the train passed through, the women waited at the station. Alas! they could not fit their huge baskets in through the train entrance. They tried carrying the baskets on their side, their back, on top of them, but they could not fit it in. “Ladies!” the conductor said, “To enter, you have to unload!” 

The same way with us. Sometimes we are overloaded with our bags and packages of busyness, worries, quarrels, misunderstandings, unforgiveness and pains. Jesus said He is willing to take our burdens from us (Matthew 11:28-30, Psalm 55:22, Isaiah 58:6, 1 Peter 5:6-7 and many more). Let us unload our burdens on Jesus and we will be free to plant seed in the rich soil of our hearts and bear fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirty fold. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

In My Heart

“Whoever does the will of my Heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.” Matthew 12:50

In Matthew 28:20, Jesus said, “Behold, I am with you always, even to the consummation of the age.” No one can promise that, not our mother, father, brother or sister. No matter how close we are to our family, one day, one by one, they will leave us here on earth. But Jesus, He will always walk with us, and talk with us if we want to listen. He can even live within our hearts. A man said to a preacher, “I see Jesus in your eyes!” The preacher was filled with awe that someone said that to him, and he pondered it for some time. Then he figured, “If Jesus is in my heart, maybe sometimes he peeps through my eyes!” 

We need to be like Mary of Bethany (Luke 10) who sat at Jesus’ feet, rapt at all He had to say. But to be Jesus’ sister, Mary would have had to obey what He had told her. Imagine if I gave instructions to my staff about what they were to do while I went away on a trip, and when I came back I found out that every day, they had a meeting. They went through all my instructions, underlined and discussed it, but did not follow through! It would be like us reading the Bible every day, underlining it, and forgetting about it when we went about our day!

Lord Jesus, help me to do Your will, to be obedient, and filled with Your Spirit. 

Monday, July 22, 2019

Have We Seen the Lord?

"Woman, why are you weeping?" John 20:13

After reading the four Gospels' accounts of the resurrection story, I find it a little hard to put it all together in one cohesive story. But that is not surprising considering how sometimes there are so many versions of one story depending on who is telling it. What is different about the Gospel story is that women are the primary witnesses. During those times, woman could not even appear in court as credible witnesses, so ifs the Gospel story was just made up, as some believe, the writers would never have used women as witnesses.

In the 20th chapter of John, after Mary Magdalene had gone early to the tomb while it was still dark, and had seen that the stone had been rolled away, she ran quickly to Simon Peter and to John to tell them. Perhaps they hesitated, but they went. After seeing for themselves, that what she said was true, they went back to their homes. Isn't that strange? They did not try to investigate, they did not look for any signs around the tomb, they did not look for anyone to ask. They just left. They were still in their "fear" mode. They had assumptions about what happened, and did not want to interfere. Jesus, their leader was dead, they did not want to be connected to Him any longer.

But Mary, Mary wanted answers. She stayed. She did not want to leave until she had some clue to what happened. Aren't women like that? We can't let go. We like to solve things, until we sometimes become busybodies!!! But this time, Mary gets her reward. Jesus appears and asks why she is crying. And then she recognizes Him and she is filled with joy!

Let us not be afraid to cry. Pope Francis said that sometimes tears are the lenses we need to see Jesus. Recalling the story of Mary Magdalene, the Pope said, “let us ask the Lord to give us the grace of tears — it’s a beautiful grace” — and ask for the grace “to be able to say with our lives, ‘I have seen the Lord,’ not because he appeared to me, but because I saw him with my heart.” Christian witness, he said, can be summarized as: “I live this way because I’ve seen the Lord.” (Homily about Forgiveness, April 2 at the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae)

Do we live as if we have seen the Lord? 

Sunday, July 21, 2019

One Thing

“There is need of only one thing.” Luke 10:42

What is that one thing, that secret, that Jesus told Martha she needed? Mary, Martha’s sister had chosen the better part, Jesus revealed, and it was not serving Him. Martha was so “abalang abala” as we say in Pilipino, anxious about all she had to do. Mary just sat beside the Lord, listening to Him. That is what we must do also before anything else. 

Reinhard Bonnke, a German Pentecostal evangelist in Africa, told a story about visiting a prison in Bukavu that was so medieval in its practices. It was a filthy cage for humans. When he went, the prisoners, with their chains so thick an elephant could not escape, were worshiping the Lord, and clanking their chains for music. Bonnke felt God speak saying, “Tell the worship leader he will be freed and he will preach the gospel.” So Bonnke asked to speak to the leader in private and the interpreter told Richard, the worship leader, what God said. 

“Are you sure?” Richard asked incredulously. “See that tree? Every month the hangman comes and we line up before that tree. The hangman put a rope there with a noose and one by one, men are put to death. Three times I have waited in line. Three times the hangman grew too tired to hang me. The last time he was here, I was the next man to die. The hangman glared at me like he wanted to see me dead. Then he threw up his hands and went home.”

Bonnke went to a local politician to plead for Richard’s life. He was unavailable but his wife said it would be done if Bonnke could find a way for her two children to attend university in Germany. Bonnke said he could not do that. He left Bukavu with a heavy heart. Two years after, he heard that Richard was set free and he arranged for him to attend Bible School. Twelve years later, he met Richard again, in a maroon suit, and he was a sponsoring pastor for the Christ for All Nations Crusade in Africa. 

If we listen to God, God can tell us all sorts of marvelous things and all sorts of wonderful things can happen. We just need to sit at His feet like Mary. 

See for the full story. 

Saturday, July 20, 2019


“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, His mercy endures forever.” Psalm 136:1

I just finished the last episode of Stranger Things. One thing stands out, the victims had no choice in whether to join the evil monster or not. They just became a part of its body, as it got bigger and bigger. 

Jesus wants us to be a part of His Body, but He never forces us to do so. He is very gentle and generous with us. He did all the hard work. He came down and joined us here on earth, walked the dusty streets of Galilee, from Bethlehem to Jerusalem, Capernaum, and Jericho on His final journey to the Via Dolorosa to Calvary. 

Jesus was the One who became bloodied and battered on Calvary FOR US to be reconciled with the Father. It is OUR choice always to accept His sacrifice, His forgiveness, and His mercy that endures forever. Jesus did it for all, even the man or woman who murders, spouts curses, trolls, prostitutes himself or herself for money in different ways.  

Do we say ‘yes’ to Jesus’ call or ‘not yet’ like so many do, thinking there is no freedom in following the Lord? If we give ourselves to the Lord, we will receive the greatest freedom that we have ever known! 

Friday, July 19, 2019

How Shall I Make a Return to the Lord?

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

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

How do I repay all the good He has done? By being faithful to Him, by being sincere in my desire to follow Him, by returning again and again to the fount of living water, so I can be washed clean. Lord, I will never deserve Your love, but may I always try to be Your daughter in every way, to follow Your teachings, to care for those You care for. May I see others with eyes of compassion, not take my blessings for granted, but share those blessings with others! 

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Concerned about Us

“I am concerned about you.” Exodus 3:16

When I was younger, I could not make heads or tails of the Bible. Reading it was so hard going, and was like a punishment to me. Five minutes seemed like an hour! Reading one chapter a day was torture, but I kept at it. Now, I thoroughly enjoy reading scripture because I get to know Somebody who loves me and cares for me so much that He intervened in men’s lives and made sure we get to know HISstory. 

In Exodus, He speaks through Moses to tell the Jews He was concerned about the way the Egyptians were treating His people as slaves. We may think that God stopped intervening in men’s lives but it is far from true. 

Nikki Cruz was one of the street-tough gang members from a ghetto in New York evangelized by Pastor David Wilkerson. Their story is told in the amazing book and movie, “The Cross and the Switchblade”. Nikki was saved from a life of drugs, violence, witchcraft, physical and emotional abuse, and a dangerous life as warlord and leader of the dreaded street gang, the Mau Maus. 

Now he goes around preaching God’s wonderful news of love and salvation around the world. In his book, “One Holy Fire”, and many other best selling books, he shares about how God can change our lives in amazing ways. One day he was so down and depressed because he witnessed a terrible accident in Jerez Zacatecas, Mexico. He and two of his ministry coworkers tried to help but all their efforts failed. The people in the crushed remains of jeep had just come from their very successful evangelistic meeting at a nearby stadium and tattered Bibles and crusade leaflets were littered on the street along with broken bodies. 

“Why, God, why?” Nicky cried out weeping, helpless and frustrated. After the exhilaration of a successful crusade at a 3000-seat stadium filled to capacity, Nicky is brought to despair. He continued to wrestle with God until morning, thinking it was time to quit. At 6 am, he went out for a run. He ran and ran until he got lost. A pickup stopped, and the man inside said, “Nicky Cruz! You’re lost! Get in!” 

Nicky got in, a little wary, but the man continued to talk to him. “Don’t be afraid. What happened last night was not your fault. Things happen that we don’t always understand, but we have to trust that God is in control, in spite of how it may seem. God knows you’re hurting and confused. He knows you’re tired and ready to quit. But I’m here to tell you He isn’t finished with you yet.” The stranger said much more and even prayed for Nicky. Before he knew it, he was at the entrance of his hotel. When Nicky looked back, the truck was gone. 

Sometimes we feel overwhelmed by what life throws at us. We should always be confident that God is looking out for us. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Faith on Fire

“As Moses looked on, he was surprised to see that the bush, though on fire, was not consumed.” Exodus 3:2

Moses witnessed the miracle of the burning bush that was not devoured by the fire. The widow who fed Elijah in 1 Kings 17, made bread for a long time from a jar of flour that was not used up and a jug of oil that did not run dry. The apostles saw for themselves that 5 loaves and two fishes could feed five thousand and more in Matthew 14. 

Sometimes we do not have anything but faith, but all the time, faith is more than enough. The problem is we have little faith. Even the apostles had little faith! Jesus got frustrated with them many a time, saying, “Oh ye of little faith!” (Matthew 8:26) Perhaps like me, we grew up with a lot of religion, but too little Word of God. I only heard it in mass on Sundays. The thing is “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17) So the more we hear, the more faith we will have. 

Smith Wigglesworth was a British preacher who was influential in the early history of Pentecostalism. He was a very boring preacher but he converted thousands to Jesus Christ and healed many people who came to his rallies. His secret was prayer and reading the Word of God. The Bible was all he read. When Lester Sumrall, an American preacher, visited him several times as a young man, he said that all they did was read the Word for 30 minutes, then pray for 30 minutes, then repeat that until it was time for a meal. 

If we take the time to do that, I am confident our faith will never run out and miracles will follow us. One day, Smith Wigglesworth was talking and praying with a man with two stumps for feet. Smith insisted that he get fitted for shoes. So the man went to a shoe store and asked for a size 8 pair of black shoes. The clerk got a pair and handed it to him after saying he won’t be able to wear it. When the man put one of the stumps into the right shoe, a foot filled the shoe. When he put his left stump, a left foot filled the shoe. 

Now many of us are going to think, “I don’t believe it!” We need to feed our spirits with the Word of God so we will be like Smith Wigglesworth who after a half day of praying, was said to have raised a dead woman to life! Faith comes by hearing the Word of God!

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Eyes of Compassion

“Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will repay you.” Exodus 2:9

The Pharaoh’s daughter was instrumental in saving Moses who became the great deliverer of the Hebrew nation. When she noticed the basket floating in the water, and opened it, she saw the crying baby boy inside with eyes of compassion. 

Many of us have eyes of compassion for those who are hurting but do we go further and act on it? 

I was listening to the great grand-daughter of Smith Wigglesworth, one of the giants of our faith. He was just a simple man, a plumber, who did not know how to read or write until his wife taught him, but he ushered in a revival during his time that reached many corners of the world. Although he was extremely busy travelling everywhere, he never forgot to teach his children and grandchildren about the Lord. 

When his great grand-daughter Lillian was about 4 years old, about 70 years ago, her dad who was also a pastor in the Congo, brought his whole family to a village that had never heard about Jesus. He wanted to bring them the Good News. When they reached there, they asked where they could sleep for the night. The villagers pointed to a 4-pole, open hut in the middle and they set up their camp beds there. A storm erupted and Alice and Harold Berry, Lillian’s parents, started rebuking the storm, but the thunder and lightning continued throughout the night. When the sun came out in the morning, the men of the village approached. 

“We want to serve your God!” they said. “How do you know who our God is?!” Harold asked in surprise. “Your God is the God who can save our children from the lions. We put you where the lions sleep every night. Sometimes our children forget and go outside our homes and the lions eat our children. Your God sent a storm and the lions did not come! Your God protected your children. We want to know your God!” The whole village came to know Jesus. 

When we see others with the eyes of compassion, we can never imagine what God will do to help us, and what can happen if we listen to God, and follow His guidance. 

Monday, July 15, 2019

Break Free

“Broken was the snare, and we were freed.” Psalm 124:7

Many people are trapped, but they don’t realize it. Many people think it is freedom to go out late at night and drink, take drugs, indulge in casual sex or pornography. They are actually caught in a snare that is very difficult to break free of without God.

I like the story Kenneth Copeland told of his cousin Larry. Kenneth’s mother and his aunt were always praying for their sons, always, that they would go on the right path. Kenneth became a preacher after he married Gloria, but Larry, his cousin became a drug addict when he was really young. Kenneth’s aunt never gave up praying. One day, Larry’s pals told him that whenever he was under the influence of drugs, he was always talking about the Lord, so they did not want him around no more! “All you want to talk about is God!” they complained. After that, Larry got evangelized by listening to his own words! It sobered him up. The thing is some doctors told his mom that if he ever got off drugs, he wouldn’t be in his right mind, he would be a vegetable, because he had been taking it for so long. But she kept praying and did not give up. 

After he was freed from the snare of drugs, Larry took up Physical Therapy, and he got top grades. After Larry received his diploma, he commented, “Kenneth, that’s pretty good for a carrot!” 

Thank You Lord, we can depend on You to free us or our loved ones from the snare! We must never, never give up praying!

Sunday, July 14, 2019

My Neighbor

“Who is my neighbor?” Luke 10:29

A scholar of the law asked Jesus this question after he recited the great commandments of loving God and loving neighbor. Indeed, do we know who our neighbors are? 

Pope Francis writes that the Parable of the Good Samaritan “indicates a way of life, which has at its main point not ourselves, but others, with their difficulties, whom we encounter on our journey and who challenge us.” Do we, like the Good Samaritan, stop, go out of our way, take our focus off ourselves, to help a brother or sister in need? 

I appreciate the sharing of Lizanne Southgate so much because the one who stopped and helped her was a cleaning woman at the hospital where she took her 2-year old son to. Larkin was in surgery and she was all alone because her husband was at home taking care of their other children. While waiting in agony, fearing for her son’s life, she saw on the TV in the waiting room that the city of Los Angeles was engulfed in riots and fires. Her mother was there and she could not get through. 

She collapsed against the wall weeping. When the elevator doors opened, a wiry cleaning lady emerged pushing a big fuzzy, dust mop. The lady, after a moment, slid down beside Lizanne and asked what was wrong. She held Lizanne’s hands in her rough, work-worn hands and patted them. She began to speak of her own life and Lizanne realized the old lady had so many sorrows. “How do you survive?” she asked. 

“You just gotta have faith. Nothing lasts forever, it all passes on. And when you can’t hold on no more, you just let go and let the angels carry your troubles awhile. It’ll be all right.” Lizanne’s “mop angel” stayed with her until the doctors came out to tell her they were able to take the gangrenous appendix out of Larkin, and that he would be fine. She eventually found out her mother was safe as well. 

Lord, I hope I am not too busy with my own concerns not to see my neighbor. I hope I can be present to those in need and not be so focused on my own needs. 

Saturday, July 13, 2019

My Life A Gift

"Not a single sparrow falls to the ground without Your Father's consent."  Matthew 10:29

Do we really believe that everything, big and small, that happens to us is known by God, is allowed by God? For that is what this verse implies. When a strand of hair falls from our head, or even an eyelash. If a mosquito bites us. If it's taking us forever to get a cab. When we get an autoimmune condition with no cure. 

I remember when I almost lost my only son Josh. He was a cute little baby, so smiley and charming, and had such a good disposition. I was right beside him when he was playing with a lion clip which I thought was too big for him to swallow. I turned my eyes away for a moment, and when I looked back at him, he looked as if he was about to vomit. I did not have any inkling whatsoever that he was choking on that clip! All I made sure of was I would not get vomit all over me or the bed. I carried him facing away from me to the sink,  pressing into his rib cage in the perfect position for the Heimlich maneuver! Out popped the clip! I was so surprised. Up till then I did not realize the danger my darling son was in! 

How many dangers have we been in that God has rescued us from ? Doctors say that there are so many diseases we are healed from that we don't know about. There are documented cases of life threatening diseases that go away spontaneously. My husband has had many close calls with death, an almost serious accident on the hi way that would have changed our lives, getting thrown off a racing carabao and getting a concussion, falling off a boat, etc. So how about those awful things that happen that God doesn't prevent? Does it mean He wasn't watching out for us for a second? 

Chiara Petrillo was 28 when she died from carcinoma in her tongue that had spread to her liver, lungs and one eye. Previous to that she had lost two children with malformations right after she gave birth.  “You can be happy already in this world, in spite of everything. If eternity is your reference point, everything that happens is actually very little," she declared with conviction. "Whatever you do, it will only be meaningful if you think about eternal life. If you truly love, you will realize that nothing belongs to you, because everything is a gift.”

Lord, may I see my life as a gift. You watch over me and You allow only what is good from Your perspective of eternity! 

Friday, July 12, 2019

Speaking Through Us

“You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” Matthew 10:19-20

Jesus reassured the Apostles about their mission, that they should not be worried about how they were to speak or what they were to say. This held true whether they were praying over people who were sick, or whether they were before the courts of men. As long as they were following Jesus’ instructions, He would be with them with His Spirit, walking beside them, guiding them, and helping them. 

This is as true today as it was then. In our mission as God’s ambassadors, God’s presence in the world, God’s light, we can be intimidated and chastened. There is so much against our speaking out against evil and injustice. The world wants to stifle our voice when we speak against abortion, extrajudicial killings, corruption, etc. But it is the same Spirit who gave wisdom and boldness to the apostles who is with us today. 

We can call on the Holy Spirit to give power to our words when we pray for others. When Kerry Davidson moved to Liberia, she was so bothered with all the quarrels she witnessed daily among her neighbors. She would sit on her front porch, and see her neighbors’ lives lived out in front of her because most of their daily work was done outside the four walls of their home. They cooked, washed their clothes and dishes out in their yards, and they would have word wars which would erupt into physical fights. 

So she started to pray for them, calling on Jesus and the Holy Spirit to transform their lives and relationships. The Holy Spirit moved and Kerry did not witness any more fights. We too should be confident when we pray. “You will have what you say,” Jesus promised in Mark 11:23. Let us be more bold in speaking God’s Word to transform our little corner of the world. When we confess God’s Word, His creative Spirit will work. He will speak through us. 

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Choose to be Free

“It was really for the sake of saving lives that God sent me here ahead of you.” Genesis 45:5

The story of Joseph the dreamer, and the builder, is a marvelous story of what can happen to a person who does not get consumed by bitterness and unforgiveness. His envious brothers sell him to some traders, and tell Jacob their father that he was attacked by a wild animal. 

The traders sold Joseph to Potiphar, an officer of the Pharaohs h of Egypt. He lands in jail because of Potiphar’s foolish wife. In jail, Joseph interprets two dreams correctly which gets him into Pharaoh’s court. After interpreting Pharaoh’s dream about years of plenty and years of famine, Pharaoh is impressed with Joseph’s wisdom. “You are the wisest man in the land!” Pharaoh then assigns Joseph to direct what to do and to be in charge of the whole land of Egypt. “Only I will have a rank higher than yours.” 

Can you imagine what would have happened if Joseph was just focused on getting revenge on his brothers? Would he have been concerned about his fellow inmates? “Why do you look so worried today?” he asked them (Gen. 40:7) Joseph was so helpful and efficient, the chief jailer put him in charge of the prison. The Lord was with him, making everything run smoothly and successfully! 

Wherever we are, whatever we do, we can be God’s presence in our little part of the world. Perhaps people hurt us, reject us, give us trouble, if we focus on our work and what we have to do for God, we can be fruitful like Joseph. If we are filled with resentment and unforgiveness we can be stunted in our growth because all we see are closed doors. Let us choose to be free, choose to forgive, so we can open doors and allow God to use us to build His Kingdom on earth. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Pointing to Jesus

I love making collages. It’s like a treasure hunt, you never know what you’ll find and what’s the final result! 

I start my hunt with all the magazine pages in what I call my “Cut Up” box. I select pictures, audition them on my journal page to see what I like. Sometimes I use washi tape from my “tool” box. 

"Go to Joseph and do whatever he tells you." Genesis 41:55

This is what the mighty powerful Pharaoh told the starving people of Egypt. Does it not sound familiar? This is exactly what Mary, the mother of Jesus, told the servants in the wedding at Cana (John 2:5). This is just one of the many parallels in the story of Jesus and Joseph.

In the study of the Bible, scholars say that Joseph is one of the clearest and most detailed "types" of Christ. This means, I think, that some aspects of Joseph's life are prophetic of Jesus' life. Both were betrayed by their "brothers", Joseph sold into slavery, and Jesus sold for 30 pieces of silver by Judas. Both Joseph and Jesus were tempted but did not sin. Both were falsely accused. Both were 30 years old when their lives took a significant turn. Joseph was 30 years old when he was made Prime Minister of Egypt, and Jesus started His public ministry at 30 years old. Both became rulers after a period of humiliation. Joseph was put in jail for some time, and we know what happened to Jesus! For both Jesus and Joseph, even their own "brothers" did not accept them. As Joseph's brothers hated him, so did the Jews, a lot of them, hate Jesus and did not believe what He said. As Joseph was stripped of his many colored coat, so was Jesus stripped of his clothes. Just as Joseph was not recognized by his brothers when they came to ask for grain, so too Jesus was not recognized by the Jews as their Messiah. Just as God allowed the suffering of Joseph to save His people, so too did He plan that Jesus' suffering would save us all. There are many other parallels in Scripture that can be cited, just as there are many stories in the Old Testament that point to Christ.

I was thinking, does MY life point to Christ? Can someone look at my life, and say that I am a "type" of Christ? They say that a Christian's life is the world's Bible. Most people do not open and read the Scriptures, but if we live as we are supposed to live, following Christ, then the world can look at us, and see Him!

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Bless Me, Lord!

“I will not let You go until You bless me!” Genesis 32:26

In many ways, Jacob, the younger son of Isaac, was despicable in many ways. He, along with his mother Rebekah, tricked his blind father into giving him the blessing that Isaac meant for Jacob, the older son. We may not have hoodwinked anybody like Jacob, but we too have flaws and failures. God never gave up on Jacob and He will never give up on us. What He does is He slowly teaches us to go forward with Him and trust Him. We may not see him but He is always walking beside us even when we are hardheaded and stubborn. 

Last Sunday, I attended a prayer meeting and heard the sharing of a young man who grew up in our community. Bart had some bad experiences in college. He flunked most of his subjects and he felt a hopeless failure. He was the type of person who did not want to ask help so even his parents did not know anything about what he was going through. He started drinking, using drugs, got into meaningless relationships until he was kicked out of school to the shock of his parents. One day, he went to the top of a building because he decided to kill himself in desperation. 

God intervened. Bart felt a warm embrace. Sometimes, like Jacob, we can shout to God, “I will not let You go until You bless me!” Sometimes it is God who says, “I will not let YOU go till I bless YOU!” That was the turning point in Bart’s life. He was able to finish college when the school reinstated him, and he is now ardently serving the Lord in Christ’s Youth in Action. 

Lord, never let me go! Bless me with Your gracious Spirit, inspire me to live my life loving and serving You in every way I can, with every breath of my body! 

Monday, July 08, 2019


"Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you.” Matthew 9:22

In John 16:33, Jesus promised, “In the world, you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world." It is so true, we are never free from troubles. If it is not our trouble, we also carry the burdens of our brothers and sisters in our church or community or our workplace or school. Today I woke up with an ache in my heart for a young girl in the ICU and her mother. If I can care for others not in my family, I can trust that our loving God weeps even more for their heartaches. 

I have a long list on my phone of people I pray for- my family, godchildren, my men’s and women’s group in our community, people who are sick or depressed, who need help financially, etc. I also pray for our country and our leaders because we really need God’s help and intervention! Jesus said, “Take courage!” No matter how hopeless a situation may seem, Jesus has “conquered the world”. We are on the winning side. We may not see the victory yet, but it is a sure thing! 

Oh, lots of challenges and trials may assail us from all sides. But Jesus said, "Take Courage." Bring it along with you! Do not leave it behind!

Take Hope!

Take Perseverance!

Take all that you need...

after all Jesus is with us on the journey, and He will provide! 

Sunday, July 07, 2019


“As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you.” Isaiah 66:13

In another verse in Isaiah, we can read these poignant words, “Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.” (49:15) We can find many images in the Bible that speak of God’s love for us, His protection, His faithfulness and generosity. If we know these truths for ourselves and stand on them, we can pass it on to others. This is an important part of our mission and our purpose. 

I came across a sharing by Helen Luecke. She was feeling depressed and hopeless because she just learned that her mother had just 3 months to live. The doctor said, “There’s no need to bring her back. The chemotherapy is no longer working.” On the way home, she and her mother took the plane. Before the plane left the tarmac, a tall young man brought a 7 year old girl on board and sat her across the aisle from Helen’s mother. Helen thought, “I hope she doesn’t bother Momma.” 

The small girl, whose name was Lisa, started crying. Momma leaned over with a tissue and caught the tear, “Now where’s the smile?” Momma continued to talk to Lisa until a smile came. It turned out her parents were separated and lived far away from each other and she was shuttled back and forth. Momma listened because she knew about tears, and she knew about how life goes on, that the years will fly by, and that there’s a smile behind every tear. Lisa listened to all the wisdom Momma had to share and was comforted. Helen listened too and did not feel so sad.

When the plane landed, little Lisa exposed a snaggle-tooth smile and said thank you to Momma for talking to her. Momma had been a bearer of a message of hope and consolation. We too are called to be bringers of light into every dark corner. We do not need to go to Africa or China to be missionaries. We just need to know the message that God wants spread into every corner of the world, and pass it on to anyone we meet. 

Saturday, July 06, 2019


“Nobody sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloth...” Matthew 9:16

I like buying old clothes from the ukay ukay (thrift shops where you have to sift through mounds of 2nd hand clothes). I even buy dresses, jackets and jeans with holes or tears, because I choose it for the cloth or leather, the buttons, or the embroidery. Old cloth, aside from being cheap, is still usable. I make purses, journals, dolls, brooches, and fabric collages. In our stores, we sell a lot of merchandise from recycled things like bottles, toilet paper rolls, eyeglass lenses, etc. 

Sometimes we need to open our eyes to new possibilities. Our business was built on that. My mom, who called herself an ordinary housewife, always said she had very little talent. This was not true of course. What was true was she had hardly any capital. With common sense and a lot of faith and prayer, she was able to build a business which was described in some magazine articles as “Pera sa Basura” (Money from Garbage). Just because most people would throw some things away, like used bottles, cans, cardboard, or cloth, does not mean it cannot be reused, recycled, or made into something other people would like to buy. 

The same is true with people. God will never reject anyone for any reason. I know that some people feel worthless or hopeless, have no confidence and self-esteem, perhaps because of their past, or how they were brought up. I have seen parents who shout at their children in the streets, or even in malls, “Ang tanga mo!” (You’re stupid!), “Wala ka talagang pag-asa!” (You’re hopeless!) Of course this will color what they think of themselves and how they treat others. 

If we see ourselves through God’s eyes, we will always have hope, we will always be confident. God loves us no matter what, even if other people see us as “used goods”. And just like I sift through the ukay-ukay, we just need to dig deep into God’s words to find the promises and declarations of His love we need to see us through our own particular challenges. 

Friday, July 05, 2019

Jesus Saw

“As Jesus passed by, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.” Matthew 9:9

In “The Anawim Way” today, I was struck with the first paragraph:

‘Pope Francis’ papal motto, “Miserando Atque Eligendo”, can be loosely translated as “He looked at him with mercy and called him”. It comes from St. Bede the Venerable’s reflection on the call of Matthew, especially in how Jesus looked at Matthew when he saw him sitting at his custom’s post.’

Matthew was a tax collector and tax collectors were treated with disdain by the Jews. He was despised for collaborating with the Roman occupation force. But Jesus looked at Matthew with mercy and called him, “Follow me.” Because of this, Matthew became one of Jesus’ Twelve disciples, and after Jesus’ death, preached the gospel, established churches and died a martyr. 

We should learn to see people with eyes of mercy and compassion. We should not judge and count them off as worthless or hopeless. Many people are in pain, having such a difficult time in life. If we just extend a listening ear or a helping hand, perhaps we will see more changed lives, and miracles. Perhaps the changed life will be our own. 

Thursday, July 04, 2019

God Will Provide

“God Himself will provide the sheep for the burnt offering.” Genesis 22:8

The story of Abraham and his willingness to sacrifice Isaac has many levels of meaning. It foreshadows God’s generosity to sacrifice His only Son on the cross that we might be saved. 

Today, my take on this focuses on obedience, our willingness to follow God’s laws and His teachings. We have to follow even if we do not understand, even if we do not know the future, even if there does not seem to be anything in it for us. 

Yesterday my husband got together with a group of his classmates because a friend from the US arrived, a guy who works in the biggest car dealership there. He was asked, “Who was the most famous person you sold a car to?” Then he told the story that one day a man arrived at their showroom. He described him looking like a “taong grasa”, a beggar, unkempt, and all the other salesmen kept to their seats. He was the only one who chose to approach and entertain the man while he looked at the cars. Then the man asked for a particular model, and though it was on hold, Luigi’s classmate did the paperwork to free it so it could be sold. They then took the car out for trial. While they were on the road, Luigi’s classmate asked, “What do you do?” The man said he was a director of movies. When they got back to the showroom, the man said he would buy the car and he paid cash, not installment. All the other salesmen were astonished! It turned out that that man was the director of the smash hit, SpiderMan! 

God teaches us many things. One of them is that we should respect and love people the way He does. We should not pick and choose and discriminate. We should not play favorites. After all, He died for each one of us, the wicked, the righteous, the rich, the “taong grasa”, the meek, the one who runs rough shod over our feelings, the stupid, the blind, the one who spreads fake news, even the murderer. God Himself will provide the sacrifice that needs to be offered for all our sin.

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

WOYWW: Believe!

Here is what I’ve been doing on my desk this morning! Collage! This is what I do when I am too lazy to paint! 

I also like altering the original with the Prisma app. 

“Do not be unbelieving but believe.” John 20:27

I like to say I am on a faith journey, a pilgrim journey. I may not be walking far with a staff and meager rations like the pilgrims who trudged the Camino de Santiago for months and occasionally years, to reach the magnificent Santiago de Compostela Cathedral. Nonetheless, I see myself as a pilgrim and stranger on the earth (Hebrews 11:13), on my way to the Kingdom that will never be destroyed. 

All of us are pilgrims, whether we acknowledge it or not. Like St. Thomas, whose Feast Day we celebrate today, we go through many stages in our pilgrimage. At times, St. Thomas was bold like when he declared, “Let us also go to die with Him!” bravely wanting to follow Jesus even when Jesus’ life was being threatened. That is not usually what we remember when we think of St. Thomas. He is usually known as doubting Thomas because he declared adamantly after Jesus died, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in His hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into His side, I will not believe!” 

I too have to deal with my lack of faith at times, and I resort to the father’s prayer in Mark 9:24, “I believe, help my unbelief!” And Jesus will help us because, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” (Mark 9:23)