Monday, May 31, 2021

Blessed are You!

“Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled." Luke 1:45

Elizabeth, the wife of Zechariah, and cousin to Virgin Mary, proclaimed these words to Mary when Mary visited her to share with her the "good news" that she was pregnant. 

Don't we all need Elizabeths in our life? Someone to share with, someone who will support us, walk with us, is interested in our personal life story and will love us in spite of our idiosyncracies or strange happenings in our life? Someone who will say, “Blessed are you!" 

We are truly blessed when we have people around us, family or friends, who will be the face of God for us, who want the best for us, and who will stand up for us. Life is not easy. It can get complicated, messy, when we navigate it’s rough roads. The namesake of Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth Taylor, once said, “You find out who your real friends are when you’re involved in a scandal.” Hopefully we never have to get involved in a scandal to find out who our real friends are. We need friends who are not fair weather friends, who will be around for us through thick and thin. We also need friends who will tell us the truth no matter how hard the truth is. Yes, we need Elizabeth’s around us and they are gifts from God. 

But even more important, are we Elizabeths to those who need an Elizabeth? 


Sunday, May 30, 2021

Make Disciples

“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations...” Matthew 28:19

In 2006, I was dismayed to find that I could not remember anything about the scripture I read and meditated on during my prayer time early in the morning. I decided to embellish the Bible verses with cuttings from a magazine, just to make it stand out visually on my journal. From collage, I eventually started doodling, drawing and painting. Then I discovered painting on my Bible. I have three Bibles with my paintings in them. Ever since my surgery in December 2019, I have found it easier to do digital painting on my iPad with Procreate. What a journey it has been! 

Next step, God gave me the assignment to post my meditations on my blog in 2009. I did not know where it would take me. From my blog, I went on to post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tumbler and Google plus which has disappeared from cyberspace. I have been doing this every day for years now. Some days, I feel like I am partnering with God on a mission. I know I would never have been able to do this on my own! No way! Every day I am pleasantly surprised. 

Do I think I am following Jesus’ command to all of us to “make disciples of all nations”? Undoubtedly! But first and foremost, I realize I am preaching to myself! I read in my daily meditation guide, “The Anawim Way” sometime ago- “The first person whom we must ‘make a disciple’ is ourselves. One must be a disciple before one can make a disciple. We cannot give what we do not have...Becoming a disciple is a life-long process, part of which involves witnessing to others about Jesus. The more we give Him to others, the more we grow in Him ourselves.”

When we share about Jesus, we fall in with this long line of “witnesses”, going back to a ragtaggle bunch of fishermen who did not know what they were doing at first. Jesus gave them the power of the Holy Spirit, just as He gives us that same power today. But we have this great advantage over those fishermen! We have technology, and we can reach so many more people around the world than they could. Let us plug into the amazing power of Jesus and use all the tools available to us to give Him to others, and grow in Him ourselves! 

Saturday, May 29, 2021


“The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul." Psalm 19:8

I remember when my mom was sick, and she had just received the diagnosis that she had tongue cancer. The prognosis was not good, and her spirits were down. I read to her from the Bible, and after a while she told me she felt better. Then there was a time I was tasked to keep the elderly mother of a friend company while brothers and sisters were busy painting the downstairs of her home. She was quite anxious and visibly agitated as her home had been damaged by a recent flood. I read to her from the Psalms as she lay in bed, and she became calm and asked me to continue to read to her. 

I am a great believer in the power and efficiency of God's Word. "For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12) In Isaiah 55:11, we read, “ shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.

The prophet Jeremiah wrote: “Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD,  and like a hammer that breaks the rock into pieces?” (Jeremiah 23:29) 

Lord, may the words I speak line up with Your Word. May I use Your Word like a tool to break down barriers, to make the impossible possible. Yes Lord, refresh and renew me every day with Your Word! 

Friday, May 28, 2021

Have Faith in God

"“Have faith in God.” Mark 11:22

“We live by believing, not by seeing." Do we believe God listens, even if sometimes our prayers are not answered the way we want? Do we even believe He exists at all, when there is cruelty and evil and unfairness He allows? It would be so easy for God to destroy terrorists, pedophiles, drug traffickers, abortionists..... but then, where do you draw the line? There is a seed of evil in each one of us. Evil is anything opposed to God. He would have to destroy every last one of us!

 But I believe God has faith IN US! We can walk by faith, not by sight, if we follow His example. God acts as if each and every one of us is precious and worthy, even if what He sees is contrary to that. He loves us as if each one of us is capable of doing something great and wonderful for Him. He died for us, even when we were sinners, unredeemed. As His children, He planted an indestructible seed of faith in our eternal souls. Let us water that seed, nurture it, by prayer, by reading His Word, by being with people who also desire to obey and 

follow Him.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

I Want to See!

 "I want to see!" Mark 10:51

Sometimes when trying to understand a story in the Bible, I put myself in one of the character's shoes. This time I put on a blind man's clothes. It is probably filthy. Bartimaeus, son of Timaeus, does not seem to have anyone with him, to guide him and take care of him. At this point in my life, I am just sitting by the roadside, just outside Jericho. I am probably begging for food, dependent on the kindness of strangers. What a lonely life, most would say! But being blind, my sense of hearing is acute. I can hear the chirping of birds, the little things no one notices. I am eager for any conversation and pay great attention to stories I hear as people pass me by. Recently there are a lot of stories of Jesus of Nazareth. Wonderful stories of how he touches people and they walk! My heart is full, and I am so eager to hear His stories, His parables, His teachings, but how can I if no one brings me to where He is? There is a little seed in my heart, a seed of yearning, a seed of hope!

Suddenly, there is a commotion. There is a sizable crowd approaching, a lot of shuffling feet. People speaking all at the same time, a lot of excitement. What is happening? I focus my attention so I can understand what is being said. I hear the name, "Jesus of Nazareth", and my heart quickens. Of course, I am not going to let this moment slip by! I shout as loud as I can, "JESUS, SON OF DAVID, HAVE PITY ON ME!" I try to get up awkwardly, but people push me. I almost fall backwards, but I do not care. I keep shouting. Many are telling me to keep quiet, to shut up, but I shout even louder so Jesus can hear. "JESUS, SON OF DAVID, HAVE PITY ON ME!"

Finally, I hear a quietness. Even if I have never seen Him, I know that voice. It is a compelling voice. "Call him over." Someone comes and guides me. This person says gruffly, "You have nothing whatever to fear from Him! Get up! He is calling you!" I throw aside my filthy rag of a cloak, get up, and can’t believe it. I am right beside Jesus! "What do you want me to do for you?" He asks. I knew I could ask anything, anything! I could ask for riches, for fame, for food, for new clothes, but I knew what I was going to ask! "Rabboni," I say in a trembling voice. "I want to see." Jesus lays a hand on me, "Be on your way! Your faith has healed you!" And then, miracle of miracles, I could see! I see Jesus' kind face and my heart is full! I start to follow Him and never look back.

Am I as eager to hear Jesus' teachings and stories so that my heart will be full of faith? Faith comes from hearing Jesus' words. (Romans 10:17) What do I ask from God? Are my prayers full of pleadings for this and that, and not for the most important prayer, to see? To have faith? We are all blind beggars in a way. We need the gift of faith so we can see God and all that we have in Him! Let us all pray like Bartimaeus, “JESUS, SON OF DAVID, HAVE PITY ON ME!"

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Good and Faithful Servant

“Whoever wishes to be great among you will be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you will be the slave of all. For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:43-45

I tease my helper in our house, ate Lucy, that when we get to heaven, I will stay in her house, because I am sure she will have a mansion or a palace in heaven. She is so selfless and her heart is truly a servant heart. She always puts others first and hardly thinks of herself at all. I know she cannot do all she does without love in her heart. 

I do not know if this is true but I found this on Pinterest. “Leader” is mentioned only six times in the Bible (KJV). “Servant” is mentioned 900 times! Then why do we have so many Leadership Conferences? Is it because it is more difficult to be a leader or because more people would prefer to be a leader than a servant?

If we want to have a servant heart like Jesus, we need humility, humility, humility. We also need love, compassion and mercy in our own hearts. Otherwise what we do for others will be empty actions. We need to join our heart and will to the heart and will of God. There are so many people who require help in this needy world of ours. How do we even start? We need a listening heart and observant eyes. God usually brings people or situations to our notice, but we have a tendency to ignore them because we are too busy and caught up in our own needs. Like Samuel in 1 Samuel 3, we should answer God’s call with, “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” Sometimes we are busy doing good things for God without finding out if they are what God wants us to do. 

Let us learn to take the time to listen to God, and to obey. That is how God can use us to do good things through us. Perhaps one day, when we reach heaven’s doors, we will hear, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Last Will Be First

"And behold, some are last who will be first and some are first who will be last." Matthew 20:16

This phrase can also be found in Matthew 19:30, Luke 13:30, and Mark 10:31. And Jesus means exactly what he says. The thief hanging on the cross beside him must have done terrible things for him to merit the absolute worst punishment, but he received heaven's reward after he repented. That thief received the same fullness of life eternal that Saints Peter, Paul, and Timothy received. The thief just barely slipped through that narrow door! 

We will never know who we will meet when we get to heaven. (We're getting there not because of any good we've done but because God will finish the work He started in us!) 

We can try to think of the most evil person we know, the one who murders people, babies even, the one who goes to a crowded place and plants a bomb, the one who rapes, who deceives, who lies, curses, etc. And then when we see Saint Peter, we can ask him, "Why is that person here? I served God, tried my best to be good, told the truth, and prayed every day! And that person, what did he do?" Saint Peter might answer, "He repented, asked for mercy and called on the name of the Lord!”

It's the same as the workers in the vineyard in the 20th chapter of Matthew. Some worked a full day, others just an hour, and they all got the same wage! There can't, after all, be any more or less of eternal life. And NONE of us deserve the reward of heaven. None! Only God’s generosity gets us in. 

Lord Jesus, thank You for paying the price of admission to our eternal home! We will never realize how amazingly incredible our inheritance is until we join you, like the thief beside You on the cross, in Paradise! 

Monday, May 24, 2021

Know the Truth

“The serpent deceived me, so I ate it.” 

Genesis 3:13

We all know the story of how the serpent tricked Eve into eating the apple. Our ancient enemy continues to deceive us, and is very cunning 

about it. 

In 2010, there was a terrible accident where 5 young girls coming from a holiday in Disneyland, ended up in a car crash. Two of the girls died, and 3 were in critical condition for a while. One was so disfigured, the doctors did not realize she was actually Abby, who was reported to be dead. So while the parents of Abby were mourning, they did not realize their daughter was actually alive in the hospital. They did not know the truth! Imagine their joy when they were told their daughter was alive! Perhaps when it sank in, they would have been horrified about the mix-up! 

Many of us go about our lives not knowing the amazing truth about who we are, what we have, and our magnificent mind boggling inheritance in Christ! When I handled a group of single women for our community, God told me to tell them they were His daughters, His princesses, and I had to train them to live like princesses. It reminded me of that movie Princess Diaries with Ann Hathaway. We are God's adopted sons and daughters, but the enemy wants nothing more than to deceive us into thinking our value depends on how much money we have, or what family we are born into, how pretty or smart we are, or what job we do. If we want to know the truth, if we are tired of being wretched and blind, we need to dig into the truth of who we are, and what authority we have, and all the promises our Father has given us! It’s all in the Bible. Wouldn't we be angry if we lived pitiable lives without victory, because we had an enemy keeping the truth from us? But that's exactly what the devil does! 

Lord, may I not be lukewarm. May my eyes be open to the truth! May I be passionate about claiming my inheritance knowing I delight You, and that You want to give me all the immeasurable riches of the Kingdom! 

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Holy Spirit Come

“When the time for Pentecost was fulfilled, they were all in one place together. And suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house in which they were. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim.” Acts 2:1-4

My sister Peggy and brother-in-law Charlie attended the Golden Jubilee of the Catholic Charismatic renewal in Rome in 2017. Representatives from the Evangelical and Pentecostal churches were present as well. After all, the renewal started in Duquesne University in February 1967, during a student retreat, when they invited a Pentecostal to speak about what happened in the Book of Acts and the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. During that retreat, God poured down His Holy Spirit and students began experiencing Him in a new way. Patti Gallagher Mansfield's face glowed like Moses after she encountered God's presence in the upper chapel. Some spoke in tongues. Some cried. Some laughed. Some felt a burning sensation. Some, like David Mangan, experienced little explosions going on in his body.


Previous to that, the charismatic Pentecostal way of worship made its way dramatically to mainline Protestant churches, and then from there to the Catholics. After that Duquesne weekend, God's 'current of grace', as Pope Francis calls it, travelled around the world and changed millions of believers' lives and faith. In unity, with one body, great things are accomplished. There is more that unites us than separates us. We have to learn from one another's strengths, and recognize the gifts God wants to give us. The Holy Spirit is not a spirit of uniformity, but unity in diversity. One body, one Spirit. 

And for those who dismiss the outpouring of the Spirit as something alien, or something new, they would do well to read what the ancient prophets had to say about God’s plans for His people. We read in Ezekiel 36:27-28, “I will put My spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes and be careful to observe My ordinances. You ... shall be My people and I will be your God.” And then there’s the prophecy by Joel in 2:28, 29, 32. He prophesied that “I will pour out My spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy.... Even upon the menservants and maidservants in those days, I will pour out My spirit.... All who call upon the name of the Lord shall be delivered.” Isn’t that amazing? 

All these prophesies are fulfilled in Jesus, mediator and guarantor of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and today we celebrate the fulfillment of God’s promise. Today we celebrate the Church’s birthday! Happy Pentecost Sunday! 

Lord, may we desire more of Your Spirit. May we not be complacent with what we have right now, but may we always want more of You! 

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Not Impossible

There are also many other things that Jesus did, but if these were to be described individually, I do not think the whole world would contain the books that would be written.” John 21:25

Ever since this line was written by St. John the Apostle, the youngest of Jesus’ twelve disciples, so much more has been added to what Jesus did, and is continuing to do in  men’s lives. He can take a messed up life and turn it into a masterpiece. Jesus has changed many a man and woman from a worm into a butterfly. He is not a magician, but He can turn a stony heart into a compassionate one full of forgiveness and love. The key is rejecting sin, accepting Him and following Him. With the Lord, every life is of intrinsic worth, every one a diamond in the rough. He will not turn anyone away. There is hope for everyone, even a man who murders without compunction, steals millions from the government treasury, curses and lies with every breath. 

Who is not interested in finding riches? I wake up every morning because I know I will encounter the one true Saviour, the One who can turn the dross of hardship and trials into gold. He is the only one who can give meaning and purpose to our lives. Even if what is happening in the world right now doesn’t make sense, if we offer all our doubts, fears and questions to Jesus, He can assure us with His eternal words of hope. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11) 

Every morning when I wake up, I read the timeless words in the Bible, and discover how “the New Testament is concealed in the Old, just as the Old Testament is revealed and fulfilled by the New.” (St. Augustine) If we do not study the Bible, how will we discover the precious things hidden in it? More and more I realize that if our country, our communities, our businesses are to survive this pandemic, it will be hugely because God is continuing to take care of it all the same way He has been over the past years. 

And every morning after reading God’s words and just letting it stay in my head for a while, I put my pen to paper, and I am amazed that the Lord can use me and my gifts. This is what Jesus continues to do in this world. Let us put our lives, our dreams, our plans, our gifts and talents, and our challenges, in His hands. He is more than able. “If I can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” (Mark 9:23)

Friday, May 21, 2021

Do You Love Me?

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

Simon went fishing with the other disciples and they caught nothing all night. They returned at dawn only to find Jesus standing at the beach, but they couldn’t recognize Him. When Jesus told them to throw out the net on the right-hand side of the boat, and they followed, they could not draw in the net as it was too heavy with fish. 

When they recognized Jesus, the Risen Lord, Simon jumped into the water and swam to shore. After breakfast of newly caught fish and bread, Jesus asked Peter, “Simon, do you love Me?” Peter answered without hesitation, “Yes, Lord, You Know I love You.” Jesus then instructed him, “Then feed my lambs.” Jesus then repeated the same question two more times, giving Peter the chance to overcome his guilt of denying Jesus three times.  

We all profess to love the Lord. Sometimes we fall short. Sometimes we deny Him, not only with our words but our actions. Like Peter, Jesus does not give up on us. He continues to woo us, to invite us to show that we love Him. How? We can show we love Jesus by caring for and feeding His lambs, His sheep, His beloved people. We can feed the poor, visit the imprisoned when it becomes possible, pray for the sick, support livelihood projects, fight for justice for those with no voice, etc. So many ways to show Jesus we love Him. This should be a very important mission for us. After all, at the end of our time here on earth, the Lord will separate those who helped the poor, the sick, the prisoners, from those who did not, to bring them into Paradise. 

“I assure you when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to Me!” (Matthew 25:40)

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Path to Life

“You will show me the path to life, abounding joy in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever.” Psalm 16:11

Perhaps when some people read this verse, they scoff with disbelief, or they do not pay the words any mind. But this psalm was written by David when he was in trouble, when he was in a time of great peril! How could he extol God at such a time? Do we praise God when we are undergoing trial? We should learn to delight in God, just as David did. That was the reason for his success, and why God called him a man after His own heart in spite of his many sins. 

David knew that life was hard, he knew God would not save him from all his troubles. As a matter of fact, God allows hardship to come our way to make us better people, to bring our best qualities out. In the first letter of James, verses 2-4, he wrote, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

One time a fishing company wanted to sell cod fish all over the US and decided to freeze it. Well the taste of the cod fish was so bland from freezing, they had to think of another way. They decided to transport the fish live in fish tanks, but that did not work either because the cod fish was just floating lazily in the fish tank, and it also lost its flavor! So they put a catfish in the tank to keep the codfish moving in frenzy. That did the trick! Our trials are like that catfish, circumstances in our life that God will use to bring out the best in us! 

Let us put our full trust in God, who will show us the path to a good life, full of joy and meaning. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Consecrated in Truth

“And for their sake and on their behalf I consecrate (sanctify, dedicate) myself, so that they also may be consecrated in truth." John 17:19

How amazing is it that Jesus thought us worthy of His dedicating His whole life to make sure we know the truth and one day we can be with Him in Heaven?

How inconceivable is it that He allowed Himself to become the sacrificial lamb, God the Father's Isaac, so he could bring us to our eternal Home?

All of us were put here on earth for a purpose. 

St. Paul in Acts 20:24 said,  “Yet I consider life as of no importance to me, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the Gospel of God's grace."

For most of us, our lives are not as dramatic as St. Paul, but it is a race of perseverance nonetheless. In 2009, Charlie, my brother-in-law, was asked by Peggy, my sister, if he wanted to serve in the prison ministry of QC Jail. His response was the memorable, “What?!!! Are you crazy?!!!"

But like the reluctant son in Jesus’ parable in Matthew 21:28-32, he started preaching in the perennially crowded jail in spite of his misgivings, and he continued doing so until the pandemic put a stop to jail visits. Sometimes he got discouraged like when one of the former inmates visited him and said he got a woman pregnant. Charlie felt so disheartened and angry. Why was he doing this every week if it did not make a difference?

Peggy reminded him that they go to QC Jail to show the inmates that they are loved, that some people care for them, even if they are forgotten by their families who do not visit.

Cardinal Rosales said we all have a mission, and what is important is we love our brothers, we are generous with what we have, our time and resources, our gifts and talents. And we should always remember it is God's work, not ours. We may plant but God will give the growth,

I admire Charlie a lot. I used to see him walking into the jail all by himself if no one could go with him, bringing cookies and juice for the inmates. He is "bearing witness to the Gospel of God's grace" not only with his words but by his actions as well!

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Yes I Do

“Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.” John 17:3

"And this is the promise He made us: Eternal Life,” we read in 1 John 2:25.

To live happily ever after, isn't that what any bride wants on her wedding day? I forget which husband on my Facebook feed said that his wife was the perfect gift for an imperfect man, but I thought it was a beautiful sentiment. 

I read 1 John 2:25 about God's promise to us and I thought about marriage, and how God’s promise of eternal life to us is a covenant like marriage. He put a ring on my finger, just as another father put a ring on the prodigal son's finger. A PERFECT GIFT FOR IMPERFECT ME! I do not deserve it, I can never earn it, but God desires to give me eternal life, to be together forever.

There are many things that God does that I do not deserve. He gives me a beautiful wedding dress to replace the rags of my sin and shame. He washes me clean by forgiving me time and time again like Hosea forgave his harlot wife. Sometimes, because I pray every day, and contribute to different causes and do other good deeds, I think I am in right standing with God. I am complacent and un-needy. But I am as far from holiness and righteousness as the east is from the west! And yet, Jesus, my bridegroom takes me by the hand, and walks me down the aisle, and says, "Yes, I do. I do die for this precious one. I do promise to give her eternal life with Me and My Father in My Kingdom." 

That is the perfect ending and beginning, and the best part is, it is NO fairy tale!!

Monday, May 17, 2021

Take Courage!

"In the world you will have trouble, but take COURAGE, I have conquered the world." 

John 16:33

There's no doubt about trouble! We all have it in one form or another! It's the way we deal with it that defines us!

Some act as if everything depends on them. And then there are those who know  there is Someone who never leaves them, the One who says, "Take COURAGE, I have conquered the world."

I have to confess I am of the second variety. In our business, we have to depend on God a lot because we are not anywhere near being “business expert"s even if we have been in business for more than fifty years. 

If we have problems of any kind, our solution is PRAYER! If our sales are low, we pray! If we have problems with the BIR or City Hall, we pray! If we have an employee that needs correction or dismissal, we pray! If we need to make a decision, we pray! So when this pandemic started, and we did not have any experience to base our next actions on, we prayed. Every single day. Together. 

God is our PARTNER in our business and we can take COURAGE in the future because Jesus has not only conquered the world, He has already taken care of the future for us! 

Sunday, May 16, 2021

The Treasure We Possess

This reading from Ephesians should have MANY exclamation points and capitals!

"May the EYES of your HEART be enlightened! that you may KNOW what is the HOPE that BELONGS to His call! what are the RICHES of GLORY! in His INHERITANCE! among the HOLY ones! and what is the SURPASSING GREATNESS of His POWER! for US who BELIEVE!" Ephesians 1:18-19

This is why we pray and read God's Word- to know the hope that is ours when we follow Him, the riches of our inheritance, the power we have when we believe!

If we don't have intimacy with God, if we don't know Him as our father, how can we claim what is rightfully ours as His sons and daughters? We would be like pitiful orphans, lost children. Of what value are promises if we don't claim them? What is the use of gold, riches, power, if we don't know they are ours?

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

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

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Passionately Curious

“He began to speak boldly in the synagogue; but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the Way of God more accurately.” Acts 18:26

In the 18th Book of Acts there is an encouraging story of a Jew named Apollos. Luke writes that he was an eloquent speaker, and an authority of the Scriptures. He spoke and taught accurately about Jesus, although he only knew about the baptism of John. What happened? When Aquila and Priscilla, co-workers of Paul, heard him speak boldly in the synagogue, they called him and explained to him the gospel, particularly about baptism. Apollos listened well and the three became ministry coworkers.

Many times we do not want to share about God because we are not so learned about scriptures. Or we are insecure about what we have to say. Or we are afraid of being laughed at or ridiculed. But here we have Apollos who is eloquent and knows the Old Testament, and yet he was humble enough to listen to Priscilla, a woman, and her husband Aquila. This shows me that if we have the desire to share, God will meet us where we are. It does not matter if we are a new believer or someone who has been reading the Bible a long time. We all have something to learn, and we should be teachable. 

Legendary basketball coach John Wooden says, “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.” In Proverbs 26:12, we read, “Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.” And the brilliant Albert Einstein said, “I have no special talent; I am only passionately curious.”

Are we passionately curious about God and His ways? Are we teachable? God will meet us where we are and we will find a treasure worth more than all the gold on earth.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Eagles’ Wings

“It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go forth and bear fruit that will remain.” John 15:16

We are all chosen by God to be a part of His body, and just as the body has many parts, we too have different responsibilities and vocations. We may think that what happens to us, is coincidence or an accident, but I believe that God has a Master plan for each one of us. He does not usually show us what that is, just as a weaver does not reveal to the rug or tapestry what the final outcome is. The shuttle quickly flies back and forth, and the design is revealed slowly. 

The way eaglets learn to fly is very fascinating. When the mother eagle builds her nest she first finds thorns, branches, and other ragged and sharp materials for the first layer. And then she proceeds to cover it with a padding of wool, feathers, straw to make a soft bed for her eggs. She provides everything her babies need while they are growing, but when it is time to teach them to fly, she starts “stirring the nest”. She removes the soft layer to make it uncomfortable for her little ones. In this way, the mother eagle prompts her babies to mature and desire to fly. 

When we feel despondent that God is allowing discomfort and trials in our life, let us remember the baby birds. God our Father loves us, and has chosen us to bear fruit, to soar with eagles’ wings.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

In a Little While

Jesus said to His disciples, “A little while and you will no longer see me, and again a little while later and you will see me." John 16:16

Jesus and His disciples certainly had some strange conversations! But after He died and appeared to them, some of those conversations became clearer.

I miss my mom very much, but that is tempered by knowing I will see her again. How terribly desolate I would be if I did not have this reassurance! There are so many people around the world in need of this assurance, that our life here is like a blink of an eye compared to eternity. One day, after in what God’s eyes is a little while, we will join Jesus and the loved ones who passed away ahead of us. 

But we do not have to wait to be with Jesus! We can be with Him all the time! He left us the Spirit to be with us always! “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." Matthew 28:20

We just need to spend time with Him and not be so enamored of the things this world has to offer! We can't "see and hear" Him if we don't turn off the noises, the clamoring of this world, the urgent call of our long list of needs and things to do! Dear Jesus, help us to see You here and now. 

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

God’s Greatest Miracle

“What therefore you unknowingly worship, I proclaim to you, the God who made the world and all that is in it, the Lord of Heaven and Earth...He fixed the ordered that people might seek God, even perhaps grope for Him and find Him, though indeed He is not far from any one of us." Acts 17:23-27

Paul said these words in Athens where he noticed so many temples dedicated to idols. One altar caught his eye, however, an altar TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. Paul wanted to introduce this unknown God to the Athenians. And he chose the Areopagus, a prominent rock outcropping in Acropolis, Greece, in which to do it. We may not be an eloquent speaker like Paul, we may not be a missionary going to far reaches of the world, but we do have access to a modern day Areopagus where we can share about the goodness and greatness of God. The internet is where we can make our voices heard above the fake news, the confusion, the troubles and headaches of this world. 

Creation is God's first missionary. All of creation shouts out about God's majesty and power! “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities--His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.” Romans 1:20

 “Men go abroad to wonder 

at the heights of mountains, 

at the huge waves of the sea, 

at the long courses of the rivers, 

at the vast compass of the ocean, 

at the circular motions of the stars, 

and they pass by themselves without wondering.”

St. Augustine

 We, our human body, our minds, our soul, are God's greatest miracles!

I can't say it better than Louie Giglio in this video:

It's worth watching! At the end of the video he talks about how we are "fearfully and wonderfully made" (Psalm 139:14), how we are made of 75 trillion cells, and that every 3 seconds, 50,000 cells die and are replaced by brand new cells! And how LAMININE, a cell adhesion molecule looks like a cross under the microscope. That is what holds our cells together, our body together! 

It's in the form of a cross! 

God left His signature on our bodies! Isn't that usually what an artist does?

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The Power of Praise

“About midnight, while Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God...” Acts 16:25

There is power in praising God. Many times when I feel bad I sing songs to God, sometimes in my own words. It never fails to lift up my spirits. Here in Acts chapter 16, Paul and Silas land in jail after freeing a slave girl from evil spirits. She was a fortune teller and brought much money to her masters which angered them because they lost their source of income. They dragged the disciples to the chief magistrates who ordered them beaten and thrown into jail. They were put in the innermost cell with their feet fastened to a stake. 

Did they mope and feel sorry for themselves? Did they cry out to God in desperation? Did they get angry at God thinking we are doing all this for You and this is our reward? No. They prayed and sang hymns of praise to God. The prisoners were all listening and the praise was so powerful there came a great earthquake which shook the foundations of the jailhouse!!! 

When we are more desperate than desperate, when all hope is gone, what should we do? Shake heaven with our praise! This is the message of a little 96-page book entitled “Prison to Praise” by Merlin Carothers. He had a very tough start in life, ending up in jail for a while, when he learned the powerful practise of praising God in all circumstances, especially the difficult ones. More than 10 million copies of this book has been printed and many who followed his example have had their lives transformed. 

Jean Underfel-Babalis said, “When I first got sober 32 years ago I found this book, it revolutionized my thinking, my life, and became the basis for my recovery. I’m convinced that this book was one of the primary sources that is responsible for my being clean and sober for the past 32 years. I learned the power of praise.” 

Kelly Davis shared, “I was in a cult when I first read this book 21 years ago. I was unhappy and felt very oppressed, victimized and never "good enough" . I figured I had nothing to lose so I tried it first on a nasty day when I had to stand out on a corner collecting money with a sore ankle . My praise was pretty sarcastic at first but as the day went on, I started noticing many subtle changes happening within me. I persisted and by the end of the day I felt a "joy unspeakable" I had never experienced before...I did it in faith and obedience to His Word. When I persisted in this, something broke apart deep within me and a stronghold Satan had on me for years started crumbling.”

Praise God for another secret! The power of praise! 

Monday, May 10, 2021

Saint Damien

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Damien Joseph de Veuster of Moloka’i. He was a Catholic priest who chose to live among the lepers quarantined in the Hawaiian island of Moloka’i. He taught them the faith, helped them build roads, a school, cared for them, bound their wounds, ate with them, and dug their graves. With his leadership they built the Parish Church of St. Philomena 

which still stands today.

An American writer, Charles Warren Stoddard, was a witness to the changes Father Damien brought to Moloka’i. When he visited the first time before the priest arrived, the place was in squalor but when he returned, he found two villages with rows of white houses, a decent hospital, a graveyard, and two orphanages. 

One day, 11 years after Father Damien arrived, he realized he contracted leprosy when he spilled hot water on his foot and could not feel anything. He continued to serve there faithfully till his death in 1889. 

The people of Molokai wanted Father Damien buried in Molokai for he was one of them. He touched their lives, and cared for them. But he was originally from Belgium and the Belgians wanted their hero back. In 1936, his body was transferred to Belgium. The people of Molokai continued to petition, and in 1995, his right hand was returned to Moloka’i for burial. 

We may not have Saint Damien’s heroic unselfishness, nor his strength to sacrifice his life for others, but we too should find a way to touch the lives of others, to be Jesus to them. 

As Mother Teresa said, “At the end of life, we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done. We will be judged by ‘I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless and you took me in’.” 

During this pandemic, we have many opportunities to give food to the hungry. Parishes, schools, villages, neighbors, etc. have organized and set up community pantries. We can give our loaves and fishes and we can be sure God will multiply them. It is so heartwarming to see taho vendors, delivery boys, construction workers, giving what they can. 

Sunday, May 09, 2021

Keep the Fork!

“This is how God showed his love among us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him.” 1 John 4:9

The Easter season is all about God’s love for us, how after this pilgrim journey here on earth, after the laughter and tears, the joy and the pain, the best is yet to come. I’ve been thinking about death recently because we have been praying so many novenas for dead relatives, friends, and parents of friends. Death on this side of the veil is heartbreaking. But that is not at all how God sees it. It is a homecoming, when He can open His arms and welcome His beloved sons and daughters to where they truly belong.

There was a pastor who told the story of a woman with a terminal illness. She was given only three months to live. When he visited her home to encourage her, he was surprised to find her quite excited and in good humor. She spoke to him of what songs she wanted sang at her funeral, what Bible passages to read, “and one more thing, Pastor, please make sure I am buried with a fork in my hand.”

Puzzled, he asked her why and she explained, “You know we always have potluck dinners? Well, when all the dishes of the main course are being taken away, someone always whispers in reminder, ‘Keep your fork.’ Of course we wait in anticipation for the best part, the deep dish apple pie, velvety chocolate cake or the creme brûlée!” She said with a twinkle in her eye, “I want people to see me in the casket with a fork in my hand and they’ll ask, ‘What’s with the fork?’ Then I want you to tell them, ‘Keep your fork because the best is yet to come!’”

Sure enough during the woman’s funeral so many people asked him why she was holding a fork. And he had a chance to share about her very real excitement of finally getting to heaven. He said he could not stop thinking about the fork and neither were the relatives and friends who came to the wake. 

Keep your fork. The best is yet to come.