Saturday, November 30, 2019


“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9

What can be more desirable in our future than being saved, than having a chair at our Father’s table? But confessing in our mouth and believing in our heart can also make our life here on earth more victorious and fulfilling. We should know the many promises of God and agree with Him by confessing them out loud. They will be like seeds that can bloom and grow in our garden of life. 

I remember when my mom was being interviewed for a newspaper article. She was asked what her plans were for the future. She confidently said is going to put up a factory with apartments for the workers. True enough a few years after that she had her dream. 

When Mary was told by an angel that she would conceive and bear a son, she agreed and said in Luke 1:38 “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done to me according to Your word.” 

In contrast, when Zechariah was told that his wife Elizabeth would bear a son in her old age, he did not believe and was made dumb until John the Baptist was born. Could it be that the angel closed Zechariah’s mouth because it was so important that he did not give voice to his skepticism? 

Indeed if we want to live lives of victory, abundance, health and fruitfulness, we need to know the Bible, believe it, and like Mary, say, “Let it be done unto me according to Thy Word.” 

Friday, November 29, 2019

Kingdom Come

“His dominion is an everlasting dominion that shall not be taken away, His Kingship shall not be destroyed.” Daniel 7:14

It may seem like kingdoms here on earth are all powerful and will last forever. The way kings and dictators rule, it is as if they will never be judged for their actions. But at the end of time, Jesus will be Judge and it will be the comparatively insignificant people who are building God’s Kingdom here on earth whom Jesus will point out and say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” 

I am sure that one of those people will be Andrew van dee Bijl, or Brother Andrew as he is called. He was born in 1928 and he is still alive today. As a young boy he dreamed of derring-do, and when he was old enough started smuggling Bibles into the Iron Curtain. It was usually difficult to find the Christians and their underground churches because the State did all it could to snuff out religion and religious activities. 

During one trip to Sofia, Bulgaria, Andrew had memorized the address of Petroff, a Christian. He was warned that he should not go around asking for Petroff as he was a foreigner and Petroff would surely get into trouble. Andrew then looked for a map of the city but the bookstore and hotel did not have any. 

In the hotel, there was a small decorative, hand painted street plan under glass. At first Andrew dismissed it because only the names of the biggest boulevards were shown. But as he bent over it, he saw the most amazing thing. The cartographer had only penned in the names of the major avenues, and there was only one tiny street a few blocks from the hotel that had a name. It was the street where Petroff lived. 

When Andrew visited Petroff in his one room apartment, Petroff showed him that he had 2 Bibles, one complete one, and one with missing pages. He was using a typewriter to fill in the missing parts so he could give it away to a little church in Plotiv where there was not a single Bible. Andrew was able to bring in cartons of Bibles for Petroff to distribute throughout Bulgaria through the years. 

And now, do not most people take for granted our Bibles on the shelf?

Thursday, November 28, 2019

God’s Smuggler

“O Daniel, servant of the living God, has the God whom you serve so constantly been able to save you from the lions?” Daniel 6:20

Even if Daniel was cast into a den with several lions, the next day he was alive and well, praising God. Do we believe that God can or will deliver us from lions today? 

I am reading the amazing book “God’s Smuggler” about Brother Andrew’s mission to smuggle Bibles behind the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe following the rise of Communism after World War II. In 1957, there was not a single Communist border over which you could take books of any kind- let alone religious books! 

But Brother Andrew was able to pack his little Volkswagen several times with German, Rumanian, Bulgarian, Hungarian Bibles to bring to the persecuted Christians in those countries. Many times he had to face the lions at the dangerous borders, suspicious lions at consulates, lions waiting to inspect his precious cargo. God made seeing eyes blind as Brother Andrew would pray. 

One time Brother Andrew was waiting to get across the Rumanian border. There were only six cars ahead of him and he thought it would go fast. But no! The inspection for each car took from thirty minutes to an hour. Literally everything in the car was taken out and spread on the ground and every car was put through the same thorough routine. Hub caps were removed, the engine taken apart, seats upended. 

“Dear Lord,” Andrew started praying, “what am I going to do? I know that no amount of cleverness on my part can get me through. Let me take some Bibles out and leave them out in the open where they will be seen. Then Lord, I cannot possibly depend on my own stratagems, can I? I will be depending utterly upon You!” 

Andrew took several Bibles from their hiding places and piled them on the seat beside him. When it was his turn, he gave his papers to the officer standing near. Andrew started to get out but the knee of the officer was against the door, holding it closed. The officer looked at Andrew’s passport, scribbled on it, shoved the papers back and abruptly waved Andrew on. He had made it through the checkpoint in an incredible 30 seconds! Andrew was so excited to catch a spectacular glimpse of God at work! 

Wednesday, November 27, 2019


Here is my desk this morning. Trying out my new pen and ink set. The pen is glass, so pretty and it comes with several different colored inks. 

“It will lead to your giving testimony.” Luke 21:13

In another version this same verse reads, “And this will be an opportunity for you to give testimony.” To me, God has one aim, one goal: to bring us to heaven, to enjoy our company at His table. Everything He does is towards achieving His desire to have fellowship with us. The Bible is one long love letter to us, which gets revealed the more we delve deeper. 

Jesus said to His disciples, “I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have troubles and difficulties. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”(John 16:33) Yes, if there is one thing we cannot escape, it is trouble. But the sufferings in this world is pruning the dead leaves in us so we will grow and bloom and bear fruit. God cannot have dead decaying trees in His beautiful garden. 

We can be victorious over our troubles if we stay faith full, steadfast and persevere.  We will be victorious if we read His word and make it quicken in us. And yes, we should always give our testimony, so others will be encouraged, and strive as well to live in the light of God’s mercy, love and faithfulness.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Building God’s Kingdom

“...the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed...” Daniel 2:44

Daniel was asked to interpret King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and he told the King that another Kingdom will take the place of his, then another kingdom, then another kingdom, and another until all these worldly kingdoms will end. But the Kingdom God will set up will stand forever. 

We do not set up Kingdoms, but we do try to save for the future, build homes, set up trust funds, build investments, buy land, gold, establish businesses, etc. This is all well and good but do we also prepare for the Kingdom to come? Do we build our treasure in heaven, knowing that we will never be able to keep what we have on earth? We can only keep what we give away to God’s work. That is how we invest in the Kingdom which will stand forever. 

We should not only stake our money in God’s Kingdom, but our time, and effort. We should also pursue relationships. Imagine praying for someone lost who finally found Jesus? We will see them in the everlasting Kingdom! All our efforts at building God’s Kingdom will never be wasted! 

Monday, November 25, 2019


“...Jesus noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins into the treasury.” Luke 21:2

It is not only money we can offer the Lord. We can offer Him our time, our resources, our prayers for others, even our hardships and pains. I was listening to Dr. Taylor Marshall and his wife Joy speak about their Advent and Christmas traditions. They have 8 kids and Joy was asked what she does about fasting during advent or lent when she is nursing. She said she can decide to be cheerful instead of complaining and cranky. 

When my dad was in pain I shared with him the story of Saint Therese of Lisieux. She  prayed for the conversion of the triple murderer, Henri Pranzini, while she was on her sickbed of tuberculosis. “I wanted at all costs to keep him from falling into hell, and to succeed I employed all means imaginable, feeling that of myself I could do nothing. I offered to God all the infinite merits of Our Lord.” St. Therese was ecstatic to learn that before Henri was executed in 1887, he took hold of the crucifix the priest was holding out to him, and kissed the sacred wounds three times! 

I am pondering about these things at present because of my health condition. I have so many things to do, and I do not like asking people for help but in my current condition I have to. Even going up the stairs I get breathless and my heartbeat goes up to 105! I have to rest all the time. I sensed God say to me that nothing is ever wasted if offered to Him. Nothing. Our whole life can be a prayer, and we can offer our trials for the conversion of sinners, for healing of the sick, for our families and friends, for our Church and country. Truly, the mercies of God are new every morning! 

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Christ the King

“This is the King of the Jews.” Luke 23:38

That was the inscription placed over Jesus as he hung on the cross. It was written in Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew. Well might we ask: What kind of a king was he if he could not even get off the cross, could not punish those who put Him there? What kind of a king was he if his crown was of thorns and his robe was torn off him? What kind of a king was he when he did not have any rings but had nails piercing his hands instead? What kind of a king was he when instead of being rich and mighty he was sold for 30 pieces of silver? 

Today is the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus, King of the Universe. I was thinking if I was in His place, and I had all the power at my disposal, would I not punish those that did me harm? When I realize how much of our taxes is being wasted, how much money is being stolen by people in government, if I had the power to punish, would I not use it? How about all the filthy sex traffickers and sick men preying on little children? 

I asked Jesus why He allowed Himself to be punished and He did not retaliate. “My Kingdom is not of this world. Neither is your home.” That is what I sensed Him say. I will have to ponder this deeper, but right now, I think what Jesus is saying to me is I do not have to be so angry. I should not want punishment at all costs for those who do evil. God is working slowly but surely, in His own pace and time, and vengeance is His. He is Christ the King and His ways are different from mine. 

Friday, November 22, 2019

House of Prayer

“My house shall be a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves.” Luke 19:46

Jesus is quoting from Isaiah 56:7, “...for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations”, and Jeremiah 7:11, “Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you?” He was very angry to find that the thieves and robbers which usually infested the dens and caves of Judea were cheating and defrauding people in the Temple area! They were taking advantage of the poor who came to give their sacrifice offerings to God. 

If Jesus was zealous about the physical structure in Jerusalem, how much more would He be zealous about the temple of our bodies? “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” (1 Cor. 6:19)

When Jesus comes to visit, what does He find in our hearts? Is it a house of prayer? Will it please Him? Or will He react in righteous anger and want to throw out what He sees? 

Thursday, November 21, 2019

A Fence of Trust

“...because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.” Luke 19:44

If anyone had the right to be stressed, it was Jesus. He knew what was His fate. And true enough, he sweated blood, which only occurs under conditions of fear, extreme physical and emotional stress. The condition is called Hematidrosis, when the capillary blood vessels that feed the sweat glands rupture. 

I have never experienced this, and I don’t know anyone who has. But stress is prevalent in our society today, especially in the Philippines. In Gallup’s annual Global Emotions report last year, the Philippines placed 2nd in the list of most stressed countries. 

Whenever I feel stressed, I find comfort in the Bible or a favorite devotional. In “Streams in the Desert” for Nov.21, I read, “Talk to God about whatever may be pressuring you and then commit the entire matter into His hands. Do this so that you will be free from the confusion, conflicts, and cares that fill the world today....burden Him with it, and you will have put the concerns and cares of the matter behind you.”

“Build a little fence of trust around today; fill the space with loving work and therein stay.” If we do this, we will not miss God visiting us with His peace and wisdom. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Our Manual

“It is the Creator of the universe who shapes each man’s beginning...” 2 Maccabees 7:23

It seems that we are seeing the destruction of the world and society before our very eyes. The reason may be that man has lost his purpose, his meaning, why he was created. Man was made to know, to love and to serve God. It is set clearly in our manual, our instruction booklet, the Bible. 

The same way that we must refer to the manual or online guides if we want to use an appliance, a phone, a car, in the best way the manufacturer intended, we need to read the Bible to live the way our Creator purposed. Is that not common sense? It is so sad to see how people want to make their own laws, ignoring the inherent value of each human being even when that baby is in the womb. 

“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfullyand wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.” (Psalm 139:13-15) Indeed we are made in the image and likeness of God Himself! (Genesis 1:26-28)

“For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence, but through love become slaves to one another. For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Galatians 5:13-14)

Have we loved our neighbors? In our own country, our own neighborhood, our workplace, I see with regret how many of our neighbors we have neglected. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2019


“Even if, for the time being, I avoid the punishment of man, I shall never, whether alive or dead, escape the hands of the Almighty.” 2 Maccabees 6:26

Thus proclaimed Eleazar, an elderly and highly respected teacher of the law. It was easy for him to escape the death penalty. All he needed to do was pretend to eat some of the meat of the sacrifice prescribed by the king. But Eleazar refused for he decided he would be loyal to the holy laws of God. And another thing is he did not want to give a bad example to the young. 

How many of us would take the easy way out of a difficult situation? We would rather get along with others rather than to correct them, tell them that the way they think is wrong in the eyes of God. Even the Church these days is pandering to worldly ways and opening its doors to ambiguity and confusing moral standards. 

Lord, give us the strength and fortitude to obey you. May we be courageous in these times that try men’s souls. May we, like Eleazar, know that our life on Earth is brief, and we should spend it loving You and loving our neighbor. 

Monday, November 18, 2019

Have Mercy!

“Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Luke 18:38

This was the shout of the blind man as Jesus was passing by on the road to Jericho. There was a crowd shushing him, telling him to stop shouting and calling out to Jesus. 

Is there anything or anyone stopping us from calling on Jesus? From praying? From reading His Word? Perhaps we wake up too late. We have too much to do or think about. We only want to do what is important and useful. Everything is all right with our world and we don’t have anything to ask God for. Nothing is right with our world and we think God can’t or won’t help anyway. What a crowd of shushers!!! 

But the blind man kept shouting and asking for God’s answers anyway, like the persistent widow in Luke 18, or Hannah in 1 Samuel 1. The Bible is one long long story of God answering His people’s prayers and He continues to do so today.  

When my son Josh graduated from Computer Science, he told me that all the good start ups were in BGC. That was a long way away, and would require 2-3 hours to just get there. I knew that nothing is impossible with God, and prayed. Now, my niece Elyse accuses me of praying too hard because Josh got a job with a really good company and he works from home! Thank You Lord for listening to our prayers and answering them! Thank You for having mercy on us! 

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Sing Praise

“Sing praise to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and melodious song.” Psalm 98:5

Some days it is very hard going to praise the Lord. Last night we were praying for a brother in our community who had a delicate heart procedure and when I woke up early this morning, I was grieved to learn he had gone on before us. I cannot imagine what his wife and family is going through. 

But beyond the veil, I know there is much rejoicing. Rex has run the race, fixing his eyes on Jesus. He can claim with Saint Paul that “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). He has graduated with honors. His beautiful voice will now join the heavenly chorus of angels as they sing their praise and glory to the God of all  creation. That is something we can celebrate and thank God for! 

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Pray Always

“Pray always without becoming weary.” Luke 18:1

In his letter to the Thessalonians, Saint Paul repeats Jesus’ advice to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess 5:16-18). I have to confess that sometimes I get weary praying. Right now I have 7 pages, 8 1/2” x 11” sized paper, 3 columns of a list of intercessions. So many friends and family sick, depressed, financially challenged, needing conversion. Our country and our Church are in serious trouble. We need God’s wisdom and discernment for our plans, businesses, to help people who need help, to serve God’s people, etc. When I get tired, God always visits me and tells me not to lose hope, to just sit still, and be with Him. 

“Be still and know I am God (Psalm 46:10). “Mountains may be shaken and the hills disappear, but even then my faithful love for you will remain. My covenant of blessing will never be broken” (Isaiah 54:10). In this world, there are many who will try to steal our joy and our hope and faith in God. There is a very real enemy who tries to counter any move of the Spirit. 

In Tennessee, a public school is planning to allow bible study after classes for their children. Right away, a Satanist group in the area announced in their Facebook page that it will start their own children’s ministry to combat proselytizing in classrooms, to introduce the kids to Baphomet, a man-goat devil! 

We have to be more creative in praying! Is it possible to pray without ceasing? Yes, if we know how to pray in tongues. Yes if we pray while working, while we are busy, and especially when we are worrying about something. When I am reading an email, I can pray for the person who wrote the email, the activity outlined in the email, or wisdom for the problem described in the email. If I am signing checks, I can pray for the person the check is for, or our sales, so we can order more things to sell and help all our suppliers. Whenever I watch the news, I can pray for situations and people in our country and around the world. 

Last Wednesday, I was awaiting my turn to have a 2d echo ultrasound for my heart. I did not waste my time worrying about it, I tackled my 7 page list of intercessions. Sooner than later, my number 27 was called! I am still waiting for the results and praying of course that it will help my doctor heal me of my breathlessness. 

God is good and He always teaches us if we be still and look up to Him! 

Friday, November 15, 2019

Saving Our Life

“Whoever seeks to preserve his life, will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it.” Luke 17:33

When I read this verse I am reminded of Jim Elliot who wrote this in one of his notebooks, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose". Jim was one of 5 missionaries who were speared to death in their attempt to evangelize the Auca Indians in the jungles of Ecuador. For weeks they had been circling the tribe from their plane, speaking through a megaphone and offering gifts by lowering a basket. Eventually the Indians started giving them gifts as well, a live parrot, a cooked monkey leg, a half eaten banana, which they would also put in the basket. 

Jim and his companions were well aware that the Auca tribe was violent and dangerous, "Auca" being the Quechua word for "savage". Their primary aim in Ecuador was to evangelize the Quechua Indians but when they heard about the unreached Auca, they wanted to try and evangelize them too. Jim believed that his work for Jesus was more important than his life or his family. He had a wife, Elisabeth and a daughter Valerie. After Jim's death, Elisabeth continued his work with the Quechua Indians and eventually was able to witness some of those who killed Jim and his 4 other companions come to Christ. 

We will all lose our life one day. What do we spend our days and weeks and years doing? Do we give our time for what has eternal value? 

Thursday, November 14, 2019

The Presence of God

“For behold, the Kingdom of God is among you.” Luke 17:21

 The Aramaic Bible interestingly translates this verse “The Kingdom of God is within SOME of you." I think I prefer this translation!

Some people have the gift of bringing the presence of God with them even in the mundane, ordinary, tedious tasks of every day life. I would like to be like Brother Lawrence, an uneducated lay brother with the Discalced Carmelites, who practiced infusing his work in the kitchen with love for God.

For this simple man, "common business," any mundane task like washing dishes or peeling potatoes could bring God’s love into His life and to the lives of others. 

"Nor is it needful that we should have great things to do. . . We can do little things for God; I turn the cake that is frying on the pan for love of Him, and that done, if there is nothing else to call me, I prostrate myself in worship before him, who has given me grace to work; afterwards I rise happier than a king. It is enough for me to pick up but a straw from the ground for the love of God."

That is how the Kingdom of God will be in our midst. Imagine if we were surrounded with brothers and sisters who rejoiced in their every day work, who prayed constantly and spread God’s love and kindness. Imagine if we ourself was like that! What a beautiful world this would be! 

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Desire My Words

“Desire therefore my words; long for them and you shall be instructed.” Wisdom 6:11

I know that if we want to hear God, He will speak to us. He may not show Himself in a burning bush as He did to Moses, but those who long to know God, just need to be still and listen. Sometimes He will use the Bible, words will jump out, like when He wanted me to “go to Jerusalem”. Another time God spoke through a radio broadcaster when I asked Him a question. I got a very clear answer, “Don’t quit. God doesn’t like quitters.” Other times, He will use our family, friends, brothers and sisters in our prayer group, to give us reassurance, encouragement, or correction. God is very creative in the many ways He will speak to us if we long for His instruction. 

I love hearing His still, small voice, but He can only break through if we put away all our busyness and distractions. He usually does not force His way into our lives. We have to invite Him and wait. “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” (Revelation 3:20)

Indeed we can have a banquet every day with Jesus. Job claimed in Job 23:12, “I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my portion of food.”

Teach me Your ways O Lord. I long to hear Your Word. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2019


“God formed man to be imperishable; the image of His own nature He made them.” Wisdom 2:23

Many people do not believe in hell these days. I would prefer to think that even the most evil of men who murder, steal millions from the poor like some of our politicians today, commit sodomy and prey on children, would just disappear, and not be placed in an eternal lake of fire. But that option is not possible because Jesus spoke of hell more than any other person in the Bible. He knew there was a place reserved for those who rejected Him.

Jesus warned against the absolute, terrible realness of hell. He described it as a place of eternal torment, outer darkness, unquenchable fire, where there is no return and where people would gnash their teeth weeping in regret and anguish (Mark 9:43, Matthew 13:42, Luke 16:19-31, Matthew 25:30). So what then of God’s goodness and mercy? 

Jesus is the personification of God’s goodness, faithfulness, mercy and love. God sent Him so we could know Himself, and so by His offering Himself as the one, true sacrifice, we could be justified and saved. In Romans 10:9-10, Saint Paul teaches, “If you confess that Jesus is Lord and believe that God raised Him from death, you will be saved. For it is by our faith that we are put right with God; it is by our confession that we are saved.”

We may deserve hell, but we should always remember what happened on Calvary. One of the criminals hanging beside Him pleaded, “Remember me, Jesus, when you come into Your Kingdom.” 

Jesus said to him, “I assure you, today you will be in Paradise with me.” (Luke 23:39-43)

Monday, November 11, 2019

Life Map

“My journeys and my rest you scrutinize, with all my ways you are familiar.” Psalm 139:3

This verse can be comforting or terrifying, depending on how we live our life. At the beginning of the year, I made a life map. It is already November, and I know I did not do very well in being consistent with achieving my goals. The most difficult was “Word before the world” because every time I turn on my phone in the morning to look for a bible verse, or search for something related to the bible verse, I get waylaid by text messages, messages on Viber or some other app! 

And then there’s my aim of purging, and organizing my stuff. I think I have added things instead of minimizing!!!  The boxes in the garage for donation are still there and there is still much in my craft room to overhaul. 😩 I have done better with the other goals on my life map but still have a long way to go with pleasing God in those areas as well. 

You are familiar with all my ways, O Lord. You know my weaknesses and my strengths. Every year I try to do better. Thank You for Your grace and mercy. Thank You that we have the certainty that You, who began the good work in me, will carry it on to completion until the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)

Sunday, November 10, 2019

God of the Living

“He is not God of the dead, but of the living...” Luke 20:38

Yesterday I was listening to a talk and was reminded again that Jesus did not leave us the option of believing that He was a great moral teacher, a good man, or an inspiring miracle worker. 

The former agnostic, C.S. Lewis, wrote: “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the son of God: or else a madman or something worse.”

Then Lewis adds: “You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

If we are still not convinced Jesus is God, I believe we should spend a majority of our time and resources in discovering who Jesus is. Imagine! The All powerful God of the Universe breaking through space and time to give us a message that would impact our whole existence, and we would 

miss it? 

This world is becoming more and more secular, more politically correct, more de-Christianized. And as a result, people are more confused, more depressed, and more lost. The world needs God. Psychiatrist J.T. Fisher describes Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount: “For nearly 2,000 years the Christian world has been holding in its hands the complete answer to its restless and fruitless yearnings. Here ... rests the blueprint for successful human life with optimism, mental health, and contentment.”

Saturday, November 09, 2019

We are God’s Garden

"We are God's garden." 1 Corinthians 3:9

This is one of my absolute favorite verses even though I've never taken to gardening. My father took an interest in it when I was young, and he transformed the empty lot beside our house into a beautiful flower garden with brick walkways and meandering paths. We even had a little gazebo and miniature house. There was a lot of pruning and trimming, watering, mulching, and studying which seeds to plant where and when to do it. One had to control weeds, remove the old stalks and leaves and watch out for bugs, fungus and bacteria.

We are very much like plants. God is our gardener and He prunes us and trims us even if He knows it's painful,  sometimes very painful. But like a good gardener, He picks the right time to remove the damaged stalks and rotting foliage that keep us from receiving more of His blessings and to promote new growth. He chose the soil on which we are planted and knows how much water or shade we need. 

Like plants, it is very necessary that we get nutrients, and that's why we need to pray and read the Bible. Plants also need supports like a trellis or an A-frame or stakes. We need community around, brothers and sisters to support us and help us to bloom. And weeds! Let's go to Jesus so He can pull out the weeds that distract us, crowding out what's really important in our life! 

Lord, help me to bloom and grow in Your light. Thank You for being my gardener and for taking care of me and my needs! 

Friday, November 08, 2019

Shrewd and Cunning

“His master praised the dishonest manager for acting shrewdly and prudently; for the sons of men are shrewder and more prudent and wiser in relation to their own generation than are the sons of light." Luke 16:8

Whaaaat?!!!  This is a complicated, confusing story! Why is Jesus telling a parable about a dishonest manager being commended by his master, his boss, for being shrewd???

In the past years there has been a rash of dishonest employees in our business. They each found ingenuous ways of stealing money. And in a way I can relate to the boss in the story and can say, "Wow! These employees really used their talents, their brains, their creativity to find a way to get what they wanted!"  If only they used their God-given abilities and gifts for something good! 

I know of a someone in the business of selling clothes. The mall admin was trying to find out why their sales went down almost 50 %. She discovered that the staff had their credit card terminal cut so the customers had to pay in cash. That made it easier to steal from the sales. 

I think this is partly what Jesus is saying in this parable. We should use our time, talent and treasure to do good, to gain friends, to build the Kingdom of Heaven, and to have treasure there! We should be shrewder, wiser, and more prudent than worldly men who rule this world with impunity. We should use our wealth and resources to get to our home in heaven just as the steward was using it to get a future job. And we have God at our side to do it! 

Thursday, November 07, 2019

Living for Oneself

“None of us lives for oneself...” Romans 14:7

Whenever I am in Tokyo, I get impressed with their efficient trains and transportation system. When a train is late, the station attendant gives out a densha chien shoumeisho, or train delay certificate, to explain why a person is late for school or work. In Manila, there is no such courtesy as our trains often break down, stranding thousands of commuters. 

I get dismayed and saddened knowing that to get to work on time, thousands and thousands of Filipinos have to get up really early to brave the monstrous traffic, and they get home extremely late. But do our leaders care? President Duterte said, “Let EDSA remain as it is for the next 20 years…'Wag na lang. Wala na tayong magawa. (Don’t bother. We can’t do anything about it.)”

My sister, who lives in Tokyo tells me there is no crime and the Japanese walk the streets even at night confidently with their backpacks on their back. She tells me if you want to start a business, every thing you need to do is spelled out in black and white online. No guessing and no fixers. Things are invariably done for the common good. Taxes are put to good use and not pocketed by the unscrupulous people in high and low positions of government. 

Although the Philippines has plenty of money, about 20% of our total budget, or P700 billion a year is lost in some form of corruption or another. I find it so sad that people in leadership roles so easily just think of themselves, and ignore the many who need education, healthcare, housing, a better life!!! 

But just as our leaders’ sins are glaring, as I point my finger at our President who promised us many things, and those in power with him, three fingers are pointing at me! How have I disappointed God with my own selfishness? How many times have I thought of myself, and not sacrificed my time to help someone in need? How much of the resources God has gifted me with, has gone towards improving the lives of others? 

Tuesday, November 05, 2019


“Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us exercise them.” Romans 12:6

God is so gracious, He allows us to help Him in His work here on earth. In Genesis, we read that God took pleasure in the work of His hands. “And God saw it was good.” We read that several times in Genesis. 

When we use our gifts in line with God’s purposes and designs, we too will find fulfilment and say, “It is good!” It says in Romans 12 that we need to EXERCISE our gifts. What happens when we exercise our bodies? Our muscles become strong and firm. The same is true with our gifts, we need to use them, practice, hone, and learn more about them. If we do that, it will be exciting to see where God will bring us! 

Monday, November 04, 2019

You are Invited

“When you prepare a lunch or dinner, do not choose to call your friends, or your brothers, or your relatives, or your wealthy neighbors, lest perhaps they might then invite you in return and repayment would made to you. But when you prepare a feast, call the poor, the disabled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed because they do not have a way to repay you. So then, your recompense will be in the resurrection of the just.”

If you think about it, we are the poor, the disabled, the lame, the blind, the sick, that Jesus is inviting to His feast in His Kingdom. He is just asking us to do the same in a small way. But He is not just opening up His home to us in a lavish way, He is opening up His heart. What an amazing example He gives us! Why would He want to mar His perfect Kingdom with rabble like us? Why would He desire to hold a smelly, sinful, disobedient people close? Inconceivable! But just as Jesus’ heart is, so is our Father’s! When we see Jesus, we see the Father! (John 14:9) Thank You Lord for Your amazing, awesome love for us! 

Sunday, November 03, 2019

Come Down Quickly

The story of Zacchaeus is a favorite because of its comedy. Imagine a small stocky man waiting in a crowd of people. He wants to see so he cranes his neck, tries to crawl in between all the legs, but the crowd is thick and he is unsuccessful. He then runs to a Sycamore tree, a tree that can grow up to 100 feet tall. He can see Jesus clearly now as he is high above the people. And Jesus can see him! 

Are we willing to go to absurd lengths to see Jesus? I know fans of actors and actresses, K-Pop groups, singers who go to extreme lengths to see their idols. A rich fan covered his palace and car with pictures of Indian star Shah Rukh Khan. Another wrote a love letter in her own blood asking her favorite actor to marry her. And another tried to commit suicide so he could give his kidney to his idol! 

How wonderful is it that we don't have to climb trees, or write letters in blood or call attention to ourselves to meet Jesus? Every day all we have to do is go to some quiet place and talk to Him. If we want to get to really know Him, we can easily read the Bible and every single time, Jesus shows up. Thank You Lord that You delight in showing me Your heart. That there is nothing more You want than to come and meet me in my house! 

Saturday, November 02, 2019

My Cup Overflows

You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” Psalm 23:5

My head overflowing with oil! Icky! Why is it mentioned as one of the “good things” a caring, attentive shepherd does for his sheep? I know that David was anointed with oil on the command of God in 1 Samuel 16. That meant he was chosen to succeed King Saul. A simple unknown shepherd boy was anointed to be King. In the 1710 Commentary of Matthew Henry, he wrote that the anointing was a blessing  of the Holy Spirit for his entire life. 

A good shepherd also uses oil to keep bugs and insects like flies away from his sheep and to heal wounds. If bugs deposit their eggs into the sheep’s nose or ears, it drives them crazy. The lambs would stop growing and the ewes would lose their milk. 

We are “sheep” in the Lord’s eyes. We are not very intelligent, although we think we are! So God keeps a look out for us, unless we like to rebel and run away and hide. He would like to anoint us with oil, because He has chosen each one of us for a very special purpose and work. All of us have challenges that torment us like the bugs bother sheep. If we draw close to God, He can use His protecting and healing oil on us. 

Yes, Lord, You are the good shepherd. Only goodness and kindness follow me if I follow You! 

Friday, November 01, 2019

We will be Like Him!

“We are God’s children...we shall be like Him.” 1 John 3:2

We know what it feels like if we have lost a great amount of money. Perhaps through a scam, or confiscation, or if a thief stole it. We once put money in a bank in Canada back in 2004, when we could not accept payment for goods sold through PayPal in the Philippines. After several years we found out that all the money was gone and we received no help from the manager who just kept promising to find out what happened and to update us. 

What if we received P86,400 or $86,400 every morning, and at the end of the day, any unused balance would disappear? Wouldn’t we try our best to use all of it, and feel bad if we left some of it unused? Every day, we really receive a fortune of 86,400 seconds. At the end of the day, all of it is gone, never to be retrieved. How do we use it? Do we waste hours watching TV, lurking on Facebook, arguing, gossiping, and even worse, drinking immoderately or other vices? 

There are so many things we could be doing with our time that would make us better people. What if we used those hours, even the hours when we are at work, in learning how to be like Jesus, practicing to be like Jesus, or being Jesus to others? Then we would not regret any single second of our day. And one day, we will be like Him!