Wednesday, March 30, 2022

A Mother’s Love

“Can a mother forget her infant, ​be without tenderness for the child of her womb? Even should she forget, ​I will never forget you.” Isaiah 49:15

There are numerous stories of a mother's unfailing love, but this one highlights a mother's love even in death.

36-year old Patsy Lawson left for her teaching job one morning, with her two children. She was planning to drop them off at the baby sitters, but they never got there. 8 1/2 hours later, her husband James found Patsy and their 5 year old daughter Susan dead inside their badly damaged car. The car was submerged, upside down, in a very cold mountain stream. James saw that even if Patsy was dead, she had been holding 2-year old Gerald's head above the 48 degree water. He was barely alive. For hours, his wife had held up the toddler's head so he could breathe, until she froze to death. (Story from Pastor James S. Hewitt's book, Illustrations Unlimited)

Who can measure a mother's love? Who can measure God's love? How inconceivable is it that God, who created us in love, would give His only Son to die for us in love? That kind of love never forgets, always forgives, and is ever faithful.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Refreshing Waters

“Where these waters flow they refresh..." Ezekiel 47:9

How good it is to make God a part of our life each day! Like a constant stream of water that passes through dry parched land, that is our God's touch on our lives! But it is also so easy for us to let the desert take over. In Israel, they have made their deserts bloom and they fight desertification, the desert’s continuing conquest of their land. The scientists learned that they have to direct the brackish water directly to the roots, not allowing the salt in the water to touch the green leaves. They use the drip-irrigation system which allows the nutrients to drip drip drip slowly soaking the roots and minimizing evaporation. 

We can liken this to our journey as Christian pilgrims. We too are constantly at the mercy of enemies who want to attack our faith in God, and our Christian lifestyle. This is why we need to be connected to the power of God and His Word. How? Day by day, drip by drip being connected to the Source of living water. 

In The Anawim Way, I read this passage: “Ezekiel’s vision of the abundant and life-giving water flowing from the Temple is clearly symbolic. He is describing, not a physical river which flows into a desert in the Middle East, but a spiritual river of grace which flows into the desert of humanity, giving life to the hearts of all who believe. St. John the Evangelist once had a vision of this same “river.” He speaks of it in the Book of Revelation: “Then the angel showed me the river of life-giving water, sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev 22:1). On Good Friday, we will see the true Source of this river. It springs forth from the pierced side of Jesus on the Cross. All grace flows from the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the “fountain of life and holiness.”

In Ezekiel’s vision in chapter 47, the prophet describes the water of life. “Wherever this water flows, everything will live” (v.9). Through the water of life from the wounds of Christ, Ezekiel’s vision is fulfilled.

Lord, by Your Spirit, may we, Your people, Your Church, be constantly connected to You, and may we bring new life, healing and transformation wherever we go. 

His Joy

“For I create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people to be a delight...” Isaiah 65:18

If we read the 65th chapter of Isaiah, we cannot fail to see how unhappy God is. “All day long I have held out my hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations, a people who continually provoke me to my very face .” (v.2-3) “I called but you did not answer, I spoke but you did not listen. You did evil in my sight and chose what displeases me.” (V.12)

And then the tone changes and God promises “to create new heavens and a new earth; The things of the past shall not be remembered or come to mind. Instead, there shall always be rejoicing and happiness in what I create; For I create Jerusalem to be a joy and its people to be a delight; I will rejoice in Jerusalem and exult in my people.” 

What changed? Always God is hopeful that there will be a ‘remnant’, a small group of people who will be obedient to Him, who will seek to delight in Him, who will not have rebellious spirits. Do we desire to be that people? A people God will call His joy and delight, the apple of His eye? How do we be that people? First, God already delights in us. Second, we are the ones that pull away, wanting to do things “my way”. Third, when we realize that we are running away from God and not toward Him, we can always , always make a decision to run back to Him, to repent. And like the prodigal son, we will be welcomed with wide open arms. 

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Prodigal Son

“Let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found." Luke 15:23-24 

In Jesus' longest parable, the prodigal son asked his father for his inheritance. This was tantamount to telling his father, “I prefer that you die so I can have the money." The father sadly divided his estate and gave the son what he asked for. After the son “devoured his wealth with harlots”, he came back in remorse wishing only to be hired by the father. But no! The father, welcomed him with a largesse of love and mercy, and easily forgave him. The father had been longing for his son’s return and celebrated when he did. 

How many of us would like a taste of the rich life just as the prodigal son did? Would we like to have a fairy godmother who will give us Tory Burch’s dressing room, Ralph Lauren’s cars, Larry Ellison’s 33 homes and an island? Would we want to sample the night life in New York or Paris or Monaco? Or would our choice be jetting around in a Gulfstream III, tasting wine and cheese en route to the carnival in Rio? It’s nice to dream, but believe this if you can. A study from the San Francisco Federal Reserve reveals that suicide risks are higher in higher income bracket neighborhoods, all other things being equal. This may be from trying to “keep up with the Joneses”. 

Candice Lam Yue-tung, a clinical psychologist, knows from treating her high profile patients who are celebrities, bank CEOS, or political heavy weights, that many are prone to depression, panic attacks, violent outbursts, insomnia and eating disorders. She thinks it is because of the constant media and public scrutiny. 

Isn’t it a good thing that God does not answer all our prayers with yes? Can you imagine how many people pray that they would win the lotto? The mother of Dionie Reyes kept praying that he would win the lotto and finally in April 2008, he did. He won 14 million pesos and after living the life of a millionaire for 3 months, he is now destitute and owes big sums of money. “I wish it never happened," another winner, William Post said. “It was totally a nightmare!" He won $16.2 million but after a year, he owed $1 million. 

Like the prodigal son, a lot of people are under the illusion that having money would solve all their problems, and make them happy. Jim Carrey said, “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it's not the answer.” 

Instead of money, why don't we bet on a sure thing? The love of a merciful and compassionate Father! ❤️

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Saturday, March 26, 2022

Be Merciful to Me, a Sinner

‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’ Luke 18:13

If we listen or read St. Teresa of Avila’s autobiography, she says a lot about being wicked, and sinning against God, but does not say what it is she has done. Luigi said that when you are close To God, you are more aware of your sins. In her autobiography St. Teresa wrote that she was ‘very fond of St. Augustine...for he was a sinner too.’

What impressed me is that she spent a lot of her time talking to God. Although she is the total opposite of Brother Lawrence, who was a simple man, unpolished and awkward, they both ‘practiced the presence of God’. In contrast, St. Teresa was sophisticated, her father was one of the richest men in Avila, and when she was young, she was very concerned about her looks, make up, and even perfume. 

Much to the disappointment of her father, she entered the religious life at the age of 20. She was sick for a long time, staying in bed for almost a year. What pained her about her sickness was she could not pray all alone as there was always someone watching out for her. 

Eventually, she found the laxity of her Order disturbed her. There were too many visitors of high rank, and unsubstantial conversations that intruded on the practice of contemplation and solitude. She then founded a ‘reformed’ Carmelite convent with stricter monastic regulations which included flagellation! She was a reformer and during the last three years of her life, she founded several convents and even men’s monasteries. 

What transformed this frivolous young woman interested in romance novels into one who only lived to serve God with her whole heart, soul and body? We can say it was the mercy and grace of God. 

St. Teresa de Avila wrote: “Trust God you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and everyone of us.”

Have mercy on me, O Lord, a sinner! 

How Can This Be?

 "How can this be?" Luke 1: 34

Sometimes a passage jumps out at you. you've read it many times before, but this time, it strikes a chord. In the first chapter of the Gospel of Saint Luke, I found this verse interesting, "I investigated accurately everything from the beginning..."

I can imagine this writer, St. Luke, amazed at what had occurred and desiring to come to the truth. He interviewed many of the disciples and people involved in this out of the ordinary series of events. Many saints and theologians believe Saint Luke was able to interview Jesus’ mother because of all the intimate details he has revealed in his gospel. In Luke 2:51, he wrote, “His mother treasured all these things in her heart.” 

What would he have found when he spoke to her? A woman still amazed, still in awe at God's goodness? In spite of all she had gone through? The stigma of her virgin pregnancy, the flight to Egypt, knowing hundreds of babies were being slaughtered because of the search for her Son, and ultimately the horror of seeing her Son hanging on the cross, mutilated, humiliated, seemingly defeated.

"How can this be?" she asked. How can this be that God chose me? 

How can this be that God would want to make me part of His plan to save humanity? 

How can this be that I would carry the mysteries of the universe in my womb?

Like Mary, God chose us for a unique purpose. We may still be wondering what it is. We may have many ‘why’ questions, but one thing is sure. If we put our lives in God’s hands, we can ask like Mary, “How can this be, that Someone so omnipotent and mighty chose me, so insignificant and full of failures, to be loved, and ultimately to be with Him forever?” 

The Finger of God

 "by the finger of God..." Luke 11:20

In the 11th chapter of Luke, Jesus casts out a spirit from a man who could not speak, and He said, "But if it is by the FINGER OF GOD that I cast out devils, then the reign of God is upon you." That's bad news for people who don't believe in Jesus, who think He is a fictional character, or even just a prophet.

The first time this phrase appears in the Hebrew Bible is in the Book of Exodus, chapter 8, verse 19, when the magicians of Pharaoh, impressed by the miracle where all the dust of Egypt turned into gnats, proclaimed, "This is the FINGER OF GOD." The second time is in Exodus 31:18: "As the Lord finished speaking with Moses on Mt. Sinai, He gave him two stone tablets inscribed with the terms of the Covenant, written by the FINGER OF GOD." The third and last time the phrase appears in the Hebrew Bible, Moses says in Deuteronomy 9:10, "The Lord gave me two stone tablets inscribed by the FINGER OF GOD."

This is just one of the many things Jesus said that proves He is claiming to be God, I think. Although many listened to Him and believed, many more rejected Him and His teachings. The Pharisees and teachers of religious law were furious with Him and hostile, such that they were always looking for ways to trap Him with their questions.

How about us? Do we believe that Jesus is God, that we want to listen to Him and obey? Or are we looking for proof that He is not God, so we do not have to take heed of His Words and change the way we live?

Lord, may I allow You to write Your Words in my heart and free me from all the ideas that do not come from You!

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

You are My Righteousness

“Until heaven and earth pass away not the smallest letter of the law, not the smallest part of the letter, shall be done away with until it all comes true." Matthew 5:18

Verse 21 in the same chapter reads: “"Whoever is angry with someone will be liable to judgement." We have all gotten angry with someone at one time or another. Anger is defined as a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure or hostility. It can go from rage to irritation or a slight exasperation. Before Jesus said this about anger, He gave this strong proclamation: "Of this much I assure you: until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter of the law, not the smallest part of the letter, shall be done away with until it all comes true." 

How much more emphatic can Jesus be! Does this not mean that every little yodh (the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet), and the tiniest serif (stroke at the end of a letter), is inspired by God and has His imprimatur, His official approval?!!! We definitely need to understand clearly what Jesus means by anger because He says that anyone and everyone who grows angry with his brother will be liable to judgment the same way that a murderer is liable to judgement. If we are abusive with our maids, if we belittle our employees, if we show contempt for others, feeling they are beneath us, this all falls under Jesus' definition of anger. 

I was listening to someone describing a woman in church. She knew her as such a nice and gentle person, she said, but she was shocked when she visited her at home. She treated her maids with disdain and would shout at them!  I suppose there are parts in our character we are not aware of, shadows that can't bear the light of truth.

Lord, make me aware of whatever there is in my life that is not pleasing to You. Help me to surrender all to You. It is impossible to obey all the yodhs and serifs of the law, but my hope lies in You. You are my righteousness! 

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

God’s Mercy

“You wicked servant! I forgave you your entire debt because you begged me to.” 

Matthew 18:32

God is the same today as He was yesterday. In the Old Testament there are several accounts where God’s favored people were punished for their sins. God allowed their captivity or defeat, and even in modern times, the Jews were victims of the Holocaust. Is it because He wanted to bring them low? Is it because He did not want to forgive them? 

“For we are reduced, O Lord, beyond any other nation, brought low everywhere in the world this day because of our sins,” Azariah acknowledged when the Israelites became captives of the Babylonians. And he asked with a contrite and humble heart for God’s forgiveness for his people. We need to do the same. 

We are indeed brought low by this virus. Even if the cases are declining, there is no guarantee that it will not come back. Meanwhile we are dealing with the impact of the pandemic on the Philippines, lack of jobs, and the decline of our economy to its lowest level since World War II. We do not even begin to realize what the confinement did to our children’s mental health and well being. 

Are we able to look at this time, this strange and terrible season, with eyes of faith, and see the extraordinary gift God is giving us? This may be a time of purification, renewal, a strengthening of our faith. We needed to stay home, that is true. But we also  had more time to pray, read the Bible and other books, be with family, clean and organize and find things to give away, indulge in our hobbies, find ways to connect with people in new ways, etc. Did we make use of the time and opportunity, just as this season of Lent is also a time to ponder, to connect to God, and see where we have failed Him? 

God is calling us back to Him. We are His favorites as well, just like the Israelites. “The Lord disciplines those he loves, and He chastens everyone He accepts as His son." (Hebrews 12:6) Let us look for the ways we have disappointed Him and ask forgiveness. Perhaps there is some unforgiveness in our heart we need to root out. Perhaps there is envy, or condemnation, or perhaps we like to gossip. We need to bring it out to light and ask God’s mercy for our sins. And God is merciful and will blot out our transgressions FOR HIS OWN SAKE; and He will not remember our sins. (Isaiah 43:25)

Monday, March 21, 2022


“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, and brings up more questions than answers. Like Jesus said in the Gospel reading for today (Luke 4:24-30), “There were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, only Naaman the Syrian.” 

The little servant girl of Naaman bravely tells this valiant, battle-hardened army commander that there is a prophet in Samaria who could heal him of his leprosy. So Naaman asks permission of 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 had a lot of expectations about what the man of God should do! “I thought he would surely come out and invoke the Lord His God..." It was a good thing that his servants reasoned with him, “If the prophet would have told you to do something extraordinary, wouldn't you have done it?" So Naaman swallowed his pride and did as the prophet told him. And he was healed!!!

Lesson number 1: Even if we are a lowly slave girl, we can be a messenger of hope and healing. Perhaps we are too afraid of our boss to speak to him or her about  something he or she needs to hear? Perhaps we prefer to just be silent even if we know something that would greatly ease another's burden? Let us always speak out with courage words of life and truth. This world filled with despair and darkness needs to hear it. 

Lesson number 2: Obedience may bring us to a closer encounter with God. What is it that God is asking of us? Sometimes when God does not fit into the box we made for Him, like Naaman, we can be so adamant, proud and unwilling to see things from God's point of view!!!  Let us not allow our expectations of how God should act or who God will use to speak to us be a hindrance to what God wants to do for us, and through us!

Sunday, March 20, 2022

In Search of Fruit

“He came in search of fruit.” Luke 13:6

In Luke chapter 13, Jesus tells a story of a man with a garden. For three years, he kept visiting a fig tree in the hopes it will bear fruit, but he was always disappointed. Eventually, he told his gardener, “Cut it down. Not one fig have I found on this tree. We can plant something else in this space!”

The gardener pleaded, “Give it one more chance. I will take special care and give it plenty of fertilizer. If we don’t get figs next year, we will cut it down.” 

Just like the man with a garden, God expects us to bear good fruit with what He has given us. Jesus is the gardener who takes care of each and every one of us. He said in John 17, “I guarded them so that not one was lost...” We can be confident that He who began the good work in us, will bring it to completion (Philippians 1:6).

Pope Francis said in his Angelus Message in March 2019, “The fig tree that the master in the parable wants to uproot represents a sterile existence that is incapable of giving, incapable of doing good. It is the symbol of one who lives for himself, sated and calm, enjoying his own comforts, incapable of turning his gaze and his heart to those beside him who find themselves in conditions of suffering, poverty and hardship. This attitude of selfishness and spiritual barrenness is compared to the vinedresser’s great love for the fig tree. He asks the master to wait. He is patient, knows how to wait, and devotes his time and his work to it. He promises the master to take special care of that unfortunate tree.”

When we undergo trials and suffering, that is our gardener, the vinedresser, at work, pruning our decaying leaves and branches. He is making sure we bear fruit for the Kingdom. 

One of the ways we can help Jesus is to repent of our stubbornness and indifference, so that we give Him the freedom to do what He thinks is necessary for our growth and fruitfulness. 

Obedient Joseph

 "Joseph, son of David, have no fear..." Matthew 1:20

I find it quite amazing that in the Bible, a book filled with the exploits of men, there is hardly anything said about Joseph, the foster father of Jesus. Only 2 of the Gospels mention him, Matthew and Luke. We celebrate Saint Joseph's Feast Day today in the Catholic Church.

Ever since Pope Francis' visit to the Philippines, the statue of the sleeping Saint Joseph has been quite popular. Pope Francis revealed that he had one, and that when he had difficulties, he would write them on a piece of paper and ask Saint Joseph to pray with him about it. Imitating the Pope, I now have several pieces of paper tucked under my own miniature sleeping Saint Joseph. 

In the Gospel of Matthew, Saint Joseph gets clear directions from God while he is asleep TWICE! In Matthew 1:20, Joseph is told by an angel in a dream, not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife, as the child in her womb was conceived by the Holy Spirit. In chapter 2, verse 13, he is directed by an angel, while dreaming, to flee to Egypt for his family’s safety.

God speaks to us in different ways, but we need discernment to know what comes from Him, and what comes from our own desires. Geza Vermes, a British scholar and noted authority on ancient Aramaic writings on the life of Jesus, stated that the term for "carpenter" and "son of a carpenter", used in the Jewish Talmud, signifies a very learned man.

Learned man or not, what we know is Joseph was kind and compassionate, a man of faith who obeyed God wherever He led. How beautiful to be a man or woman, who obeyed God whether awake or asleep!!!

Friday, March 18, 2022

Master Dreamer

“Here comes that master dreamer...” 

Genesis 37:19

Joseph was being ridiculed by his brothers for being a dreamer. But unlike other dreamers I know, Joseph’s dreams were not of his own making. God was the one who gave him those special dreams. His brothers became jealous of Joseph especially since their father Jacob gave him a beautiful many colored coat. Instead of appreciating the uniqueness of Joseph and his gifts, most of his brothers spent their energy devising evil schemes to get rid of him. 

Is there someone we are envious of? Irritated with? Can’t stand? Sometimes we don’t like how a person speaks, dresses, or acts. Like you and me, this person is created in the image and likeness of God. Like you and me, he or she was created intricately, to be peculiarly special and distinct by the Master Himself. Our Father took as much care creating every human being as He took fashioning the hypergiant star, VY Canis Majoris. 

Our identity as God’s son or daughter is inherent in us. Intrinsic, built in, ingrained. No one can take that away. We don’t have to earn it. And no matter how many times we fail, we will still have this identity. And no matter how many times we succeed or receive accolades from the world, none of those honors will compare with how God sees us. We need to train our eyes to see with God’s eyes, and appreciate each person the way God loves us. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Teach Us

“You do not know what you are asking!” Matthew 20:22

God Almighty Father, we plead with You about our country. Have mercy on us, Lord. Our leaders are wasting our money, our resources. They do not care about our people, Lord. They remove a big chunk of the budget for education and health and put a huge amount of resources into the confidential and intelligence funds of the President that need not be accounted for. They get into contracts that put the future of our children in peril. Now the very integrity of the coming elections are in question because of the people assigned, and the suspicious actions of those in the COMELEC. 

O Lord, please hear our prayers and save us! Have mercy on us, O Lord! Do we not know what we are asking? Are we asking for too much, are we asking too late? The mother of the sons of Zebedee approached You and asked that You let her sons sit by Your side in the Kingdom. She did not know what she was asking for. You asked if they could drink the chalice You were going to drink. 

What chalice do we need to drink, Lord, for You to save us from ignorance, deception, blindness, greed, sycophancy and selfishness? Please take this cup away, O Lord! It’s just too disheartening and sad. 

Teach us what to do O Lord! Is it sackcloth and ashes? 

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Servant Heart

“But the greatest among you shall be your servant." Matthew 23:11

Who is the greatest among us? In our home, it is our ate Lucy, our helper. Ate Lucy prepares our breakfast, lunch and dinner. She is tireless. She cleans our house, washes and irons our clothes, and organizes my junk! I never need to tell her what to do because she anticipates already our requirements. Even if I tell her to rest or take a nap in the afternoons, she prefers to work in the garden. I tease her that when we go to heaven, I will stay at her house because for sure Jesus will prepare a big house for her. 

Ate Lucy has a heart of gold! I truly appreciate her genuine care and concern for our family. She is my example of a true servant who loves God and her neighbor. Love always has to be our highest goal. God made us for a purpose, and that purpose, whatever that may be, when boiled down to its very essence, is loving and serving Him, and loving and serving others. 

This Lent, there are many ways we can 'be greater' by serving those who serve us. Let us be creative and look for ways to say we appreciate what others do for us. Lord, help us to be like You, to have a servant and generous heart.

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Monday, March 14, 2022

Mercy and Grace

Jesus said to his disciples: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. ​Stop judging and you will not be judged. Stop condemning and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and gifts will be given to you; a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing, will be poured into your lap. For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.” Luke 6:36-38

We have to realize that mankind, all of us, did something terrible to merit Jesus, God's son, dying on the cross for us. Sin is terrible, horrible to a Holy God. And that's why Jesus gave the gift of His life to each of us. We are all recipients of God's mercy and grace, not one is exempt. C.S. Lewis, when asked what made Christianity different from other religions, answered, "That's simple. Grace."

Victor Hugo's "Les Miserable" is a remarkably beautiful story about a man who made something of his life because he was the recipient of the unmerited favor of the Bishop of Digne. When the hero of the story, Jean Valjean, was released from prison on parole, he was given food to eat and a bed to sleep in by the good bishop. Valjean steals the silver and is arrested by the gendarmes and brought back to face the bishop. Jan Valjean was surprised when the Bishop says that he had given the silver to Valjean. “My friend, you left the best behind!" he exclaimed, and offered the massive silver candlesticks. These candlesticks were treasured by the Bishop because they were the last remnants of a formerly rich life, and presents from his great aunt.

In the musical, the Bishop sings to Valjean: 

"But remember this, my brother

See in this some higher plan

You must use this precious silver

To become an honest man

By the witness of the martyrs

By the Passion and the Blood

God has raised you out of darkness

I have bought your soul for God!"

Just as the Bishop recognizes that he was "bought" by God, ransomed to be reclaimed by God, we too should realize that Jesus' gifts of forgiveness, mercy and grace, should be passed on to others. Just as God gave us His Son as a free gift, we too should make our lives a gift to others. Let us not judge others with our critical eye, but see them through God’s loving eyes. 

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Sunday, March 13, 2022

By His Word

The Lord God took Abram outside and said, “Look up at the sky and count the stars, if you can.” Genesis 15:5

When we lift up our eyes to the night sky, do we gaze up in awe at what God has made? Psalm 33:6 reads, "By the WORD of the Lord the heavens were made, by the breath of His mouth all their stars." He is a star breather, a galaxy making God! We can look up and see the size of the God we worship! Awesome! 

I like listening to Louie Giglio expound on how great our God is. He talks about how big our sun is, Betelgeuse, M U Cephei the red giant star, and Canis Majoris, the hyperstar. Canis majoris, if placed at the center of our solar system would extend beyond the orbit of Jupiter!

But my absolute favorite is the beautiful Whirlpool Galaxy, which even if it is so far away, can sometimes be seen using binoculars. At the heart of its spiral is a black hole in the shape of a cross!

But we don't have to look far to see the glory of God. St. Augustine wrote, "“And men go abroad to admire the heights of mountains, the mighty waves of the sea, the broad tides of rivers, the compass of the ocean, and the circuits of the stars, yet pass over the mystery of themselves without a thought.”

There is much to marvel at in our bodies. Just the DNA in each of our cells is mind boggling! If stretched out, it would form a very thin thread 2 meters long! But my absolute favorite is what connects each cell to the other cells. This cell adhesion molecule is called Laminin, and if we look at it as drawn in a molecular diagram, it too is in the shape of a cross!

"For by Him all things were created...He is before all things, and in Him ALL things hold together." Colossians 1:15-17

Thank you Lord! No matter what circumstances I face, You hold my life in Your hands. You are a big God, and You created the Universe, AND me, with the same care and attention to detail. It amazes me that You have put Your imprint in the very center of my being!

Saturday, March 12, 2022

The Way to God’s Heart

Moses spoke to the people, saying: “This day the Lord, your God, commands you to observe these statutes and decrees….with all your heart and with all your soul…you are to be a people peculiarly his own, as he promised you; and provided you keep all his commandments, …and you will be a people sacred to the Lord, your God, as he promised.” Deuteronomy 26:16-19

Obedience is very important to God. In 1 Samuel 15:22, we read, “Obedience is better than sacrifice.” 

King Saul had to learn the hard way that God was displeased with him because of his disobedience. In Deuteronomy 8, a chapter in the Old Testament Jesus liked to quote from, we see a picture of what we would be like if we disobeyed God. Verse 19 reads, “But I assure you of this: If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other will certainly be destroyed.” 

In the novel “The Picture of Dorian Gray” written by Oscar Wilde in 1890, it tells of a handsome man who had his portrait painted. Gray, in his vanity, sells his soul to preserve his looks and ensure that the painting would age instead of him! Not only did the painting age, it showed evidence of every sin and crime Gray committed as he slipped more and more into an amoral and decadent lifestyle. 

It may be that we live a righteous life, we fast on days we are obligated to, we say 2000 Hail Marys with our church group, and we give alms to the poor. What is the portrait of our soul that God sees? Are we obedient to Him, humble not arrogant, loving and forgiving towards our neighbors? Or are we like the Pharisees who like to make an outward show of their holiness and obedience to the smallest letter of the law? 

Father, show us the way to Your heart! 

Friday, March 11, 2022


Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:20

We all want our prayers to be effective and powerful, but who is righteous? In Isaiah 64:6, we read that our righteousness is filthy rags before God!!!

I did some treasure hunting and I was ecstatic to find an abundance of verses in the Bible where Christ's righteousness passes to our account! We do not have a righteousness of our own, but it comes from our faith in Christ. 

"We are justified in the eyes of God, JUST-AS-IF-I'D never sinned"! (David J. Stewart)

And so we can pray in confidence to a God who made a way for us!

Here are the verses about the imputed (to pass to one's account) righteousness of Christ:

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

“I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.” Isaiah 61:10

“Christ is the culmination of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes.” Romans 10:4 

“But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile.” Romans 3:21-22

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24

“For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.” Romans 5:19

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