Thursday, October 31, 2019

WOYWW: God is For Us

I have not been posting on What’s on Your Workdesk Wednesdays for weeks! So here is something I started today. 

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31b

Sometimes I am overwhelmed with the many concerns I need to pray for. Our country with its many problems cannot answer the needs of the people. In fact with the new taxes, there are many more who are poorer than before. The traffic problem makes so many lives miserable, including our employees who cannot spend enough time with their families. Our money and our natural riches are being squandered and stolen.

We sorely need to lift up our Catholic Church, the Pope and some Bishops who are doing and saying things that confuse and mislead without explanation for some years now. 

Then we need to pray for our families, our work, those who are sick (so many!), and oh the myriad challenges we face. We can get insane if we think we know all the answers, and can find solutions to everything. That is why I look to the Bible for my answers. Indeed if God is for us, who can be against us? And just as God told the Jews: “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still." (Exodus 14:14) Yes, be still. Every morning instead of prattling to God about my problems, I sit quiet and put my timer on, so that if the Lord wants to say something to me, He can.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

The Narrow Gate

“Strive to enter through the narrow gate...” Luke 13:24

Recently, a well known NGO that gives sponsors opportunities to put children through school and better their communities, found out that someone used their name to collect donations in a popular coffee shop chain. They provided posters and coordinated with the coffee shop without the permission or knowledge of the NGO. 

Amazingly, natural disasters bring out not only the best in people, but also the worst. After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the FBI estimated that there were about 4,000, imagine 4,000! websites created to collect donations, not for the victims, but for scammers! It is so sad that people have a tendency to use their talents, their brain, their time and resources, all gifts from God, to take advantage of the misfortune of others. Instead of striving to enter the narrow gate, they go the opposite way, harming their souls, their hearts and their very lives. 

Do we strive to enter the narrow gate? We may not be a scammer, a deceiver, a liar or thief, but how does God see our hearts? Will He see that we are moving slowly and steadily towards Him? Does He see us praying every day, asking His forgiveness and grace, reading the Bible so we can know more and more how to follow Him? 

If we love Him, He will help us, and all things will work together for our good (Romans 8:28). 

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Mustard Seed

“What is the Kingdom of God like?” Luke 13:18

Without Jesus’ answers to fall back on, we would think the Kingdom of God was something glorious and magnificent! But Jesus compared it to a mustard seed and to yeast, both tiny and insignificant. The same with Jesus. The Jews were expecting a powerful, mighty King to save them from the Romans and so they ignored this unimportant “beggar” of a man who walked their streets and was covered in dust. 

We too are insignificant in the history of the world, in the many things going on around us. But God sees us as a “mustard seed” with a lot of potential if we work with Him. He put a lot of gifts and talents in us, and powered with the Holy Spirit, we can grow into a large tree with many branches, spreading out, and touching many lives. Yes, Lord, use me to change the little corner of the world I am in. 

Monday, October 28, 2019

Time to Pray

“Jesus went up to the mountain to pray...” Luke 6:12

Why was Jesus always praying, we should ask ourselves. If the Son of God, who was already full of faith, wisdom and strength, needed to pray, what more we, weak as we are? Jesus knew something momentous was about to happen, not only to Himself, but to the world. In Luke 12, He asked the crowds, “Why do you not know how to interpret the present time?”

We should know something momentous is about to happen in the world. We need to tune in to God’s frequency so we will not be caught unawares like the people in the time of Noah. We need to be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16). The only way to be that is to pray, to read God’s Word, and to listen to Him who is the source of all wisdom. 

Sunday, October 27, 2019


“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall ever be in my mouth.” Psalm 34:2

There is so much we have to praise God for, we do not see even half of it, or even 1/10 or 1/1000 of all God’s gifts and blessings. I know a group of people who are going around Iceland now. Every night, they watch out for the Northern Lights. The first time, they had to go in search of it. They could not see the aurora by the naked eye, but they could view it on the camera. The second time, there was a snow storm, they almost gave up on it. But everyone prayed, and the clouds gave way to a magnificent show. The third time, the night was dark and clear and they had a treat of God’s awesome dancing lights. The next night, they could watch the Aurora from the window in their Airbnb! 

I asked about the neighbors. Were they watching the extraordinary display as well? No, they were tired of it already. Aren’t we just as complacent of the everyday miracles God gives us? Flowers, birds, clouds, water, cats and dogs, the amazing fine tuning of the universe, a baby in the womb, all these are gifts from our Heavenly Father. 

May I, O Lord, be always grateful for Your gifts! May I not be complacent and grow tired of praising You with my lips and my heart! 

Friday, October 25, 2019


“Why do you not know how to interpret the present time?” Luke 12:56

Jesus was berating the crowds that they did not know how to discern. I think discernment is striving to align our way of thinking with God’s thinking. Therefore, it is imperative to read God’s words in the Bible and think prayerfully about what we read.

If we persist in trusting God and His promises, we will be victorious in this present world and culture we live in. Sometimes, so much conspires against us. Even finding time to pray can be a struggle. But prayer is our lifeline to God, our umbilical cord. The same way our physical bodies will shrivel up and die without bread, our spirit also needs spiritual food. As St. Augustine puts it, “Our hearts are restless until it rests in Thee.” 

May my heart rest in Thee O Lord! 

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Saint Making Machine

“I take delight in the law of God, in my inner self...” Romans 7:22

Saint Paul goes on to write, “But I perceive another law within my body, fighting against the law of my mind, and captivating me with the law of sin which is in my body.” He says he’s a miserable man, pitiful, perhaps even frustrated! So we would be too if we realized how far we are from the ideal. 

But that is why we are here on earth, I believe. This is a giant saint making machine! This world with all its trials, suffering people, sin and despair, gives us opportunities to learn compassion, generosity, hope, and love for others who can give nothing in return. Do we take advantage of the innumerable chances we have to make a better man or woman of ourselves? 

Choe Langr wrote in her Old Fashioned Girl blog that, “Evil has never been so accessible.  Neither has sanctity.” We just have to see this world through God’s eyes. Why does He allow evil? Why does He allow poverty? Why does He allow injustice? He gave us the wonderful gift of free will to misuse if we choose to be the selfish, destructive ones. But we can also choose to be the ones who give, who stand up for the truth, who ask forgiveness, who show compassion, who are tireless in helping even if it seems hopeless. 

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Keep Calm and Pray

“You must also be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.” Luke 12:40

It surely seems as if Jesus is coming in judgment already. There is so much evil and confusion in the world around us. It can get worse, I am afraid. The Amazon Synod is happening in the Vatican and there are so many strange events that are perplexing that the Vatican is not explaining. 

Yesterday I woke up to the story that five “Pachamama” statues (Amazonian fertility goddesses) were taken clandestinely from the Santa Maria Traspontina Church near the Vatican and thrown into the Tiber river. Why? These idols figured in a pagan ceremony on Vatican grounds and St. Peter’s to open the Synod. The Pope was there. Because of this and other very disturbing news, I have been praying for our Church, which has been in crisis for some time. 

I sensed God saying, “Keep calm and pray. A multitude prays with you. If you are  vigilant, and pray and weep for Israel, so should you pray, and weep and be vigilant for my Bride. She is like a harlot, but I do not abandon her. Do not abandon her. It is not yet time. There is still time for repentance and time for turning back to me. Time for you and time for the multitude. But do not tarry. Be vigilant. Carry your lamps. I am coming.”

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Pray Fervently

“Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival.” Luke 12:37

Today is the Feast Day of Saint John Paul II, who was Pope from 1978 to 2005. On May 13, 1981, while he was going around in his jeep after he addressed the crowd in the Vatican, he was shot at by a 23 year old Turk named Mehmet Ali Ağca. Sometime after this, the Pope asked for the envelope containing the third secret of Fatima, which included reference to among many other revelations, the assassination of a Bishop in white. The Pope believed he was saved by the intercession of the Lady of Fatima, and he personally journeyed to Portugal to place one of the bullets that wounded him, in the crown of the statue of the Lady. 

Although the 3 secrets of Fatima tend to be sensationalized, the main focus should be that we are exhorted to pray and be vigilant. Today, there is so much controversy, confusion, perversions, and even pagan elements in our Church, we really need to be watchful, pray fervently and yes, fast. 

Father, we know that the gates of hell shall not prevail against Your Church (Matthew 16:18). We pray for the conversion of souls, especially for the men who are leading Your flock. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen

Monday, October 21, 2019

Great Gain

“Take care to guard against all greed.” Luke 12:15

What is greed? According to the Oxford dictionary, it is the intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food. We do not have to look far to find people with the excessive desire for money and power. Unfortunately our government is filled with men and women who have an unquenchable thirst for it that they do not seem to care that the more needy members of our society do not even have enough for their basic needs. 

The opposite of greed is generosity. If we find that we ourselves are guilty of greed, a lust for more money, power or food, I think we should find ways to give it away. 

Saint Paul instructed Timothy: "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. ... Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life." (1 Timothy 6:6-7, 17-19)

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Pray Without Ceasing

“As long as Moses kept his hands raised up, Israel had the better of the fight...” Exodus 17:11

If only we could see just as clearly the effect of prayer on the many challenges in our life. While Joshua and the people of Israel were fighting the warriors of Amalek, Moses was standing at the top of the hill with his hands raised high. But when Moses got tired and let his hands fall, the Amaleks would start winning! So Aaron, Moses’ brother, and Hur, helped Moses keep his hands held high till Joshua and the people of Israel won. 

We do not see our enemy but they are there. They want to destroy our marriages, our families, our children, our prayer communities, our church, our country, our very lives. The enemy schemes against us. In Ephesians 6:12, St. Paul warns that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” And in 1 Peter 5:8, we read that “our enemy prowls like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” 

That is why we need to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances!” (1 Thess. 5:16-18) We must take St. Paul’s advice seriously. 

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Empty Hands

“Abraham believed, hoping against hope...” Romans 4:18

Abraham is our father in the faith, and we can look to him as our example, if we want to be overshadowed by blessing. We see that as with Abraham, blessing does not come without a letting go, without some hardship and sacrifice. Father Abraham had to leave his homeland, Ur Kaśdim in Mesopotamia, to go on a journey with God. He had to give up what was familiar and comfortable for an adventure with an unknown middle and ending. 

Sometimes we have to empty our hands if we want to receive a blessing. I am reminded of how people in many parts of the world trap monkeys. They bore a hole in an empty coconut just big enough for a monkey’s fist. Then they bore smaller holes to tie the coconut to a tree trunk. After putting fruit, rice or peanuts inside the coconut, they wait for a monkey to put his paw inside. With his paw full of food, the monkey cannot remove it from the coconut. What it is not aware of is, if he only lets go of the food he wants so much, he will regain his freedom. 

Sometimes we too do not realize that something we want, or are so comfortable with, is the one holding us back. I am thinking: what should I let go of, so I can receive more blessing in my empty hands? 

Friday, October 18, 2019

Tell the World of His Love

“The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few...” Luke 10:2

Can Jesus count on us to be one of His workers? Just as in His time, there are too few working to spread His message of love, forgiveness, and hope today. In a world weary of quarrels, discrimination, large scale conflicts, corruption, fake news, etc., we need the safe haven of the Savior and His promises. If we know Jesus, we should make an effort to make Him known. We must ask ourselves, how can I make Jesus known to my neighbor? 

We celebrate the feast of Saint Luke today. He was a faithful friend and physician who accompanied St. Paul in his missionary journeys. He also got to know the Virgin Mary well, so well that he was able to write many details about her that are not in the other gospels. I can imagine him listening in fascination at Mary’s stories of the annunciation, visiting her cousin Elizabeth, presenting Jesus in temple and meeting Simeon and Anna. Mary also told him that when Jesus was a little older, she and Joseph looked anxiously for Jesus and found Him three days later in the temple with religious teachers! We have Saint Luke to thank for the exciting stories in the Book of Acts, Jesus being taken up to the sky, the day when tongues of fire came down, the stoning of Saint Stephen and many more! 

But the stories of God’s actions on the earth did not end with the Bible. People like Corrie ten Boom, Nicky Cruz, Heidi Baker, and so many more, have stories to tell about how God is real and makes His presence known. Why just today, when I kept quiet and asked God to speak, He told me that I should pray as much for President Duterte as I do for the people I love, for He loves the President very much! 

Yes, let us find a way to tell a needy, weary world of His love! 

Thursday, October 17, 2019

St. Ignatius of Antioch

“Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice!” Psalm 130:1b

Where did Saint Ignatius of Antioch get his courage? He wrote, “Permit me to imitate my suffering God...I am God’s wheat and I shall be ground by the teeth of beasts, that I may become the pure bread of Christ.” 

We celebrate his feast day today, and I am in awe that a simple man like him born in obscurity would desire to be a martyr. When he was Bishop of Antioch in Syria, and he was arrested, he refused adamantly to worship idols and was sentenced to die in the Roman Coliseum. On the journey to Rome, Saint Ignatius was chained, but he was allowed to visit Christian communities along the way. Christians accompanied him from town to town for he was a well known figure.

He wrote in one of his letters that if the animals in the arena were not hungry, he would prod them to eat him and he urged his fellow Christians not to prevent his martyrdom. We may think that this is impossible today, but there are many martyrs in many persecuted areas of the world, people of God who die in the obscurity of the world. When they arrive in heaven, I am sure they are greeted with another arena of welcomers, a cloud of witnesses! 

Image is of a fresco of the Saint in Hosios Loukas Monastery, Boeotia, Greece

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

End of the World

“Woe to you Pharisees! You pay tithes of mint and of rue and of every garden herb, but you pay no attention to judgment and to love for God.” Luke 11:42

What if we knew the end of the world was near? Would there be things we would do and things we would not do? Jesus oh instead of loving God as they should have. How about us? Is our time, money and effort poured into more worthy endeavors? 

The past three days I have been coughing like a dog and resting in bed. I was watching Youtube. I did listen to healing verses, and preachers Priscilla Shirer and Christine Caine, but most of the time, I was focused on a marathon of Downton Abbey videos. For three days! If the end of the world was eminent, I probably would not have been doing that! 

The world will not end tomorrow or the day after, but we need to begin as we mean to go on, to make a habit of weighing the things we do with the measure of eternity. For example, if we know that in God’s economy, the only things we keep are what we give away, we should waste more time helping others, and waste more money on the beloved people of God, the poor, the imprisoned, the voiceless. I need to keep reminding myself of this as it is not easy. It is easier to waste time on Instagram, and money on Shopee. But that is like paying tithes on herbs which Jesus despised in the Pharisees!!! 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

The Heavens Declare the Glory of God

“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims His handiwork.” Psalm 19:2

Indeed when we look at the amazing images the Hubble telescope sends home, of galaxies, planets, nebulae, comets and asteroids, we cannot fail but sense there is a Creator God who made all of these with care. Even the simplest thing in our store, a bookmark, has a designer and a maker. Its design will not come out with a random throw of a dice. If we jumble words, and pick it out of a hat, will we get a poem that people will read and marvel at? We need a poet to put words together. A watch, an electric fan, the Sagrada de Familia, all of these required a designer and a maker for them to exist. 

I am not a very intelligent person but I like listening to debates between atheists and Christian apologists even if I do not always understand what they say. The otherwise brilliant Stephen Hawking has to resort to absurdities to support his atheism. “If you like, you can call the laws of science “God”, but it wouldn’t be a personal God that you would meet and put questions to.” He also said, "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” 

"I think the universe was spontaneously created out of nothing, according to the laws of science," Hawking, who died in March last year, wrote. "If you accept, as I do, that the laws of nature are fixed, then it doesn't take long to ask: What role is there for God?"

"The universe itself, in all its mind-boggling vastness and complexity, could simply have popped into existencewithout violating the known laws of nature," he wrote.

A simple bookmark needs a designer and maker but the fine tuned Universe does not? 

Monday, October 14, 2019

Just Ask

“The queen of the south ...came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon.” Luke 11:31

It seems to me there has never been a time when so much information and knowledge is available to many of us. If we want to know the truth, we can if we look hard enough. Instead, people fall prey to fake news from bloggers and trolls paid to spread rumors. In the Middle East there are many who believe the temples of the Jews never existed, that Jerusalem was never in the possession of the Jews, even if there is so much archaeological proof and historical documents about it. 

Many insist Jesus is a myth with no substantial claims to historical fact.  In a survey conducted by the Church of England in 2015, found that 22 percent of adults in England did not believe Jesus was a real person. But Christ’s story is just as well attested as the story of Julius Caesar and other pagan personalities of the time. 

The Queen of Sheba came from far away because she had heard of Solomon’s wisdom and his relationship with the Lord. She asked him many questions and it is said he answered all of them. It is natural to have questions. When I was in college, and still searching, I was inclined towards Theosophy. We should ask questions, and Jesus promised that if we seek we will find. 

If the Queen of Sheba can come from far away to seek the truth, surely we can ask Jesus, the Truth Himself, to lead us to the Truth. Just ask. 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Too Much Good Advice

“His flesh becomes like the flesh of a little child.” 2 Kings 5:14

The story of Naaman the leper is certainly one of the more intriguing stories in the Bible. 

When a little servant girl tells this valiant, battle-hardened army commander of the King of Aram that there is a prophet in Samaria who could heal him of his leprosy, Naaman asks permission from his King to find him. He appears at the door of the prophet Elisha’s house and the prophet does not bother to come out. Elisha merely sent word that Naaman should wash 7 times in the Jordan and he would be healed. Peeved, Naaman storms off angry. Are not the rivers of Damascus better than all the rivers of Israel???  

Naaman’s officers managed to prevail upon him to do as the prophet advised. Naaman went to the Jordan, dipped himself 7 times in the water, and his flesh became healthy as a young child’s. Now if only we had a prophet like Elisha to consult!!!

I think the problem today is we have too much good advice and too many excuses not to follow. When it comes to our health, perhaps we do not need Elisha. Saint Paul tells the Corinthians, “Whether you eat, drink or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31) He also tells us we have to take care of our bodies because our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor. 6:19-20)

If we go back to the diet of Jesus, we could be healthier and stronger. We have to learn to say no to processed foods, no to sugar, no to foods with excess fat and bad cholesterol. We have to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. People back in Jesus’ time ate mostly a plant-based diet. They did not have refrigerators so they would have eaten food right away, or ate it raw. 

One of my friends who had a lot of health issues, started a plant-based diet some time ago. Today her medical tests have shown she does not need her medication anymore! If we study and obey the instructions in the Bible, we will truly have fullness of life in every way. We will be more physically and spiritually healthy! 

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Obedience Brings Blessing

“Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” Luke 11:28

The prophet Samuel reminds us, “To obey is better than sacrifice.” Obedience brings blessing. When I was young, I was always asking God to treat me gently. I was aware that there were many things that could happen that could destroy the perfect world I had with my family, my friends, this precious little circle I lived in. And God was faithful, and answered my prayers. 

Then one day He showed me, that if He did not prune me, I would wither and die like a plant that was not exposed to a gardener's pruning shears. There are different kinds of cutters. Some are strong enough to cut tree branches, and they are called "loppers". Then there are the specialized ones for pruning Japanese bonsai and the exquisite miniature landscapes of the Vietnamese. To cut leaves and branches higher up, gardeners can use an averruncator which has a telescopic pole.

One of my favorite verses is from 1 Corinthians 3:9, where Saint Paul tells us we are God's garden, His field, His farm. And like any farmer, God prepares the ground for a rich harvest. The hard soil must be broken up, so He can plant the seeds. The season, the timing, the depth of the seeds in the soil, how much water, how much sun, these are all to be considered. And then when the plants are grown, and in need of pruning, God lovingly takes out those pruning shears and removes those dead leaves and unfruitful stems. Even Jesus was pruned. And Jesus learned obedience from His suffering (Hebrews 5:8-9). Perfect obedience.

I do believe that God has a special set of shears for each one of us. For some of us, He uses the lopper. For some He picks the high carbon kiri style shears for precision cutting. Whatever tool God uses, and we can be sure it is the perfect one, we know it is so we will yield much fruit, and bloom! One day we will be perfect too, like Jesus!

Friday, October 11, 2019

Finger of God

“ the finger of God..." Luke 11:20

Can we say we have been touched by the finger of God? Have we seen God's power at work in our lives? Or perhaps we see God intervening in someone's life and wonder why He has not done the same for ourselves. We live in a skeptical world, very much the same as the time when Jesus lived. Back then, they thought that when Jesus cast a demon out of a deaf and dumb person, He did it with power from Satan! Today, we prefer to be sophisticated skeptics, always questioning whether God is present or if He exists at all! I saw this picture on Facebook of a big sign "GODISNOWHERE". How would we read it? God is nowhere? Or God is now here?

When we start with faith, we will see signs of God's being "now here" everywhere! I see it in every answered prayer. I see it in every encouragement and smile I receive. I see it in the miracle of our business that thrives in spite of many mistakes and failures. I see it in the perseverance and faith of my countrymen who have good humor in the midst of trying times. 

Sometimes we need bigger signs that God is present. Marion Brown, a court reporter, grew away from her faith as she got older. She became skeptical that God was listening when she talked to Him. It took a big fire, the 2003 wildfire that destroyed over 700 thousand acres and more than 3000 homes, to make her believe again. Her family's home was razed to the ground. When she went back to the site with her husband and kids to find if there was anything of value that was left, they looked around and everything was just ashes. There were even holes on the ground because the roots of the trees were burned. She started to pray for words to say that would help her sons heal. She could see her younger son Erik quietly going around with tears falling down his cheeks. He suddenly got excited when he found a book but when he picked it up, it disintegrated in his hands. 

"Wait! Look!" he shouted. In his hand, was left a most fragile piece of ash. It was a picture of a family holding hands, with the words, "Count your blessings."  

Lord, may I always remember to be grateful for Your presence in my life. May I remember to count my blessings and not wait for big signs before I believe You are working in my life! 

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Be “Makulit”

“He will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.” Luke 11:8

Jesus Himself advises us to be “makulit” (Tagalog for annoyingly persistent, to nag) with God when we want something from Him. He gives the example of a man who needs bread for a friend who arrived at his house from a journey. He knocks at the door of a neighbor to ask, “Please lend me three loaves for I have nothing to offer him!” Even if his neighbor shouted, “Do not bother me, all of us are already in bed!”, the man persists. The neighbor cannot get to sleep, so he gets up and gives him bread. 

“Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you,” Jesus promised. Jesus has given us permission to be “makulit”, and even promised results. Indeed, is God really like that? I think God prefers us to approach Him at whatever cost. He prefers us to be annoyingly persistent rather than ignoring Him. It is true. I would rather my son be “makulit” rather than if he were silent and did not talk to me. God is really our Abba father in that sense. “Ask!” Jesus tells us, “God has so many good things in His storehouse to give us!”

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Teach Us to Pray

“Lord, teach us to pray.” Luke 11:1

There is a funny story Ravi Zacharias likes to tell of a little boy who wanted a bicycle. After watching a high church service on TV, the boy prayed: “Lord, if it is in Your Sovereign will and in Your Eternal plan that I can get myself a bicycle – in Your time and according to Your will – would you please get me a bicycle In Jesus name I pray. Amen.”

After no bicycle arrived for him, the next day he watched a prosperity gospel preacher, and decided to pray: “Lord, I declare my need for a bicycle! And I declare that it will be a nice blue-colored bicycle and delivered to my home within 24 hours. I lay claim to it, Amen!”

Again he waited in vain for a bicycle to arrive so he decided to do things his own way. He walked off into the woods with a statue of the Virgin Mary. He then prayed,

“Dear Jesus, if you ever want to see your mother again…”

Is there a formula for prayer? The disciples observed Jesus praying often. He needed that connection with His Father. We must need it even more. The most important part of what Jesus taught the disciples about prayer was that the Father is not distant. He was ‘Abba’ not only to Jesus but to us. We are His beloved children, and we do not have to resort to formula prayers or to bribe Him. We just have to speak what is in our heart. 

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Garden Walks

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

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is of Martha and Mary in the 10th chapter of Luke. Here we see Martha doing many things while Mary, her sister, was listening to Jesus.When Martha asks Jesus to tell Mary to help her, Jesus replies, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—

or indeed only one.  Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

I find it very strange that Martha is not happy that Mary is taking care of Jesus while she prepares what to serve Him! Unless perhaps Jesus has been there so often, being a good friend of Lazarus, that she takes Him for granted! Does she really want Mary to help her, leaving Jesus all alone? Don't we do this too? Jesus is always with us, He never leaves us, and that is why we sometimes take Him for granted. 

Do we make sure to carve out some special time with Him like Mary? And not just a harried "thank you" or "please..." during stolen moments between all we have to do? “There is need of only one thing...." Jesus said.

Stormie Omartian wrote, "If we don't deliberately build our lives around these "garden walks" with the Lord, the world will rapidly and relentlessly fill our hours with other commitments."

Lord, I'm sorry for treating you so casually!

Monday, October 07, 2019

Good Samaritan

“Go and do likewise.” Luke 10:37

Sometimes there is much discussion about faith and good works. In Jesus’ story of the Good Samaritan, clearly Jesus highlights how important it is to do good. A man fell victim to robbers and is left half dead on the road. Both a priest and a Levite, an assistant to a priest, crossed to the other side of the road when they saw the wounded man. 

A man who was a Samaritan, sometimes described as half Jew and half Gentile, usually scorned by Jews, chose to stop and help. He poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. He carried the man up his animal and took him to an inn, giving the innkeeper money to take care of him. He even said he would give more on his way back if the innkeeper spent more than the two silver coins. 

I am trying to remember when I went out of my way to help someone. Instead I remember freezing when a lady fainted. A friend ran to help and I continued staring. A very bad example! But I offer the good example of my brother-in-law who stopped his car to help some nuns walking in the pouring rain carrying something heavy. It turned out they were serving in a prison ministry. 

I am sure there are many opportunities to be a Good Samaritan in our daily life. Sometimes we choose to look the other way, too preoccupied with our busyness. Sometimes, like me, we let others take the burden. Then there are those days we choose to be Jesus to others. Lord, may there be more days when I choose to be Your hands, Your feet, to have Your heart of compassion. 

Sunday, October 06, 2019

May the Force be with You

“Stir into flame the gift of God bestowed on you when I laid my hands on you." 2 Timothy 1:6

This verse is part of a letter written by Saint Paul to Timothy. I do not know how old Timothy was when he accompanied Saint Paul in his travels but I like to think of him as a young man when he converted to Christianity. Saint Paul baptized and circumcised him.

"Stir into flame the gift of God" can be compared to the Star Wars greeting, "May the Force be with you". Luke Skywalker was told by his mentor, the Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi, "The Force will be with you. Always." What was the Force in these popular movies? Obi-Wan explained to Luke that the Force was what gives the Jedi his power. It's an energy field that surrounded them and penetrated them. It held the galaxy together. I'm not an expert on Star Wars but the way I see it, when Luke Skywalker was sensitive to the Force, he was able to fight the Dark Side successfully.

We have the Holy Spirit within us. We should be in training like the young Jedis to sense God's presence, movement and guidance in our every day life. There are many dark forces, enemies that seek to turn us away from God. Even our busy schedule can keep us from praying and connecting with God. With the Jedis, the mightier the foe, the more the Jedi had to close their eyes, keep still and connect to the force before the battle. The same with us! The busier we are, the more we should find time to be still, connect with God and listen.

Saturday, October 05, 2019


“Rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” Luke 10:20

We have a tendency to be proud when we do a good job, or do something for the Lord. The disciples of Jesus were the same. After they were successful in the task Jesus gave them, they came back rejoicing and boasted, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name!” Jesus cautioned them, “Do not rejoice because the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice because your names are written in heaven.” 

Yesterday I gave a sharing about our business and how God is the One responsible for our success. The listeners were women who were involved in sexual trafficking and I emphasized that we are all unique with God given talents and gifts. I gave the example of my mom who started our business 52 years ago with no capital, but well equipped with common sense, the willingness to work hard, and prayers. The organizers were very grateful and I would have been quite “puffed up with pride”, if I did not receive a reminder from the Lord many many years ago. 

I had just given a talk to students about our business, and I was just like the disciples boasting to God about my good works. Suddenly, He showed me the Bible verse in Luke 17:9, And does the master thank the servant for doing what he was told to do? Of course not.”

Today, I am just so grateful to be given opportunities to do what the Master wants me to do! 

Friday, October 04, 2019


“We have been disobedient to the Lord and only too ready to disregard His voice.” Baruch 1:19

We know God our Father wants us to take care of those with no voice, the poor, the sick, those in prison, the widows and orphans. These are the people close to His heart. So it is very dismaying, horrifying even, when our government slashes the budget for the services that will take care of those who need it most. 

I also know that when I point one finger at them, there are three pointing back at me. I also have a duty to look around me and see the many opportunities to serve God’s favorites. A good friend of mine, a brother in my community, noticed that a nun before him in a line had very little money in her purse. He decided to buy her a good lunch. My brother-in-law noticed a foreign family buying peanuts in the sidewalk. There seemed to be a discussion and he intervened. He found out they were a missionary family from Sri Lanka and the father wanted to take his family for a nice dinner but he did not have enough money. My brother-in-law treated them to a meal in Max and now they are good friends. 

We should listen to God’s voice and be ready to do what we can, where we are with what we have. Sometimes it is not money that we need, but a listening ear, and an understanding heart. Lord, teach us to have an obedient heart and a listening ear. 

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Choose Joy!

Rejoicing in the Lord must be your strength!" Nehemiah 8:10

I don't know who said this, but my husband always quotes: “Pain is inevitable, misery optional. Choose JOY!"

Sometimes it is VERY difficult to choose joy. When my sister Peggy's husband Jing

was diagnosed with malignant melanoma,

that was a very challenging time. Three years after, when Jing passed away, she was standing on God's promise in Habakkuk 3:17-19: “Yet will I rejoice in the Lord and exult in my saving God. God the Lord is my strength; He makes my feet swift as those of hinds and enables me to go upon the heights." Read her story here:

and know that nothing is impossible with God when we rejoice! 

Even when it is sooo difficult to rejoice, to be filled with praise, to thank God for something not yet given, Ann Voskamp says that “Thanksgiving precedes the miracle." Thanksgiving and praise releases fruitfulness and breakthroughs.

In 2 Chronicles 20, there is a story about how Israel was going to fight against the huge army of their enemies. What did they do? The King appointed singers to sing to the Lord and praise Him! (2 Chro 20:21) Then God set ambushes against their enemies. You may say that's an Old Testament story, but when there was a problem I could not resolve, I marched around our store like the Israelites at Jericho (Joshua 6), seven times in obedience to God, and our problem was solved! The battle is not ours but God's! Let us determine to CHOOSE joy!

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

I Prayed

 "I prayed to the God of heaven and then answered the king..." Nehemiah 2:4

I did not know much about Nehemiah, but when I read what he wrote, I really admired him.  He was the cup bearer of King Artaxerxes, meaning he made sure that the king's wine was not poisoned by drinking it to check it.  When he found out that the people back in Jerusalem were having big problems because the walls were torn down and the gates burned, he wept.  For days he mourned, fasted and prayed. How many times have I done this for my people, for my country, even if I know, we need so much help from God Most of the time I just criticize our leaders, bemoan their lack of vision and get frustrated about the state of our country!

In the 2nd chapter, the king with the asked Nehemiah why he was so sad. Instead of answering the king right away, Nehemiah stopped to pray, THEN answered the king. Because of this, the king allowed Nehemiah to go join his people in Jerusalem. The king even wrote a letter to his forest manager to provide timber for the gates, the fortress and Nehemiah's house.  But when Nehemiah started his project to rebuild the walls and the gate, there was so much opposition. Again and again and again, Nehemiah would pray! The laborers would work with one hand, and hold a weapon with the other! Such was the danger they faced! But in spite of their enemies, the wall was finished in 52 days. Then the people held a solemn assembly. They fasted, the Book of the Law was read aloud to them for 3 hours, and then they confessed their sins. After that they dedicated the new wall of Jerusalem with songs of thanksgiving.  

O Lord our God, here I see how You answer prayers, even impossible prayers. Our country is in dire need of Your deliverance. Instead of criticizing or losing hope, help us to humble ourselves, pray and seek Your face, confess our sins and turn from our evil ways. Then You will hear from heaven, and forgive our sin, and heal our land. (2 Chronicles 7:14