Sunday, July 31, 2022

Rich in God

“Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” Luke 12:15

We can learn a lot from true stories and the story I just heard was told by a Filipino who immigrated to California, set up a nice business selling Filipino merchandise. He earned enough to have two houses, several cars, too many fancy clothes and shoes he did not need and some he did not use even once. His wife was always traveling, and hardly ever home, his kids had graduated and moved to other states. So he finally decided to sell everything and just take care of his mom. He also started feeding about 100 people a day. I think it’s great that he figured out what would make him happy, feel useful and be a blessing to others before he was too old to do anything about it. 

Contrast that to what happened to Brazilian mining and refining magnate Eike Batista. He was worth about $35 billion in 2012. He was the seventh richest man in the world. BUT, and it is a big BUT, his oil company OGX became bankrupt a year after. As his business took a nosedive and collapsed, all sorts of anomalies were exposed. Much of the magnate’s profit came from bribing corrupt officials. In July 2018, he was sentenced to 30 years in prison. 

Another person who thought that wealth is the be-all of life is the celebrated Elizabeth Holmes. She came out in all the leading magazines because of the revolutionary work she was doing as the CEO of Theranos, a start up. Even Forbes named her the youngest and wealthiest female entrepreneur in the U.S, with a net worth of  $4.5 billion. In 2016, all was revealed, and Theranos’ blood tests which was supposed to change the face of health care, turned out to be a massive fraud! She had to pay a $500,000 fine, return her shares, and her net worth went down to zero. There’s a possibility she may end up in prison for up to 20 years and is scheduled to be sentenced in October 2022.

From Jesus’ parable we can glean this lesson: “‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves but are not rich in what matters to God.”

Saturday, July 30, 2022

Truth Cannot be Killed

"At a birthday celebration for Herod, the daughter of Herodias performed a dance and delighted Herod so much that he swore to give her whatever she might ask for." 

Matthew 14: 6-7

This is such an absurd scenario that sometimes I think no one could be that stupid! Imagine if you will, our president enjoying the dance of a young girl and promising under oath to give her anything up to half of our country. She runs to her mother and instead of asking for wealth or power OR half the country, she asks for the head of a poor itinerant preacher!

I can't help but relate this story to a book written by Mackenzie Phillips, the daughter of John Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas (a well known singing group in the 60s). John Phillips had more money and fame and foolish friends than he knew what to do with. He threw it all away on drugs, women and wild parties and brought his young daughter for a ride with him. She had her first high at 10 years old and brought cocaine to school in fifth grade!

Maybe Herod was high on drugs. Maybe all of them at that party were on acid! Drugs are one way to escape the truth. Killing the messenger another! I guess by nature, we want to silence the still small voice, our conscience, when we want to continue to keep doing the wrong things. It gets easier every time we do wrong. Until we can't hear the truth anymore because of the cacophony of noise, the pollution of sin that kills it.

In our world today, no one wants to hear the word sin. Even televangelists shy away from saying it for fear they'd lose their audience. Hopefully, we won't get our heads chopped off for telling the truth today. But I can't help feeling we’re getting there! It’s easy to shut the truth out by turning to all the feel good programs on TV and nice messages on facebook. And many people prefer to get their news in sound bites from Tiktok or bloggers with no accountability about what is true or not. 

Herod had John the Baptist killed for telling him and his “wife” Herodias the truth. BUT THE TRUTH CANNOT BE KILLED. It cannot be silenced even if the messenger is done away with. Eventually, all the filth, the lies, the sins, the corruption will be exposed. 

Lord, may we always live in the light. May we always desire to listen to our conscience and be guided by You. May we never accept the lies and half truths that make sin acceptable and palatable in the world today. 

Friday, July 29, 2022

One Thing

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


Growing up, having guests in our home was a big thing and stressed my mother out. In contrast, my husband is quite comfortable to have guests visit even when we had no food. I remember when we were newly married, my husband brought someone home to share a meal with us. I was aghast because there was little to serve. What I remember was serving potato bread and little else. Luigi was confident enough to know our guest came for the company and not the meal. 

In the amusing story of Martha and Mary, we see how different the sisters were from each other. Martha was the one stressed out, preparing the meal for Jesus and His disciples. I can certainly relate to her! Obviously Jesus and the disciples were hungry and tired after walking all day, and were in need of sustenance. Mary, obviously the younger sister, sat at Jesus' feet, enrapt at what Jesus was saying. Perhaps Martha had been giving subtle signals to Mary to help her which Mary ignored, and then finally, she turns to Jesus. "Lord, doesn't it seem unfair to You that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me!" 

Uh oh! She lets her frustration and resentment show but she does not get the response she expects. Jesus gently rebukes her and I can see His kind eyes as He says, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and upset about many things; only one thing is required. Mary has chosen the better portion and she shall not be deprived of it." 

Lord, may I always choose the better portion. May I not be distracted from the many things and concerns of this world. May I get to know You and Your heart, and sit at Your feet like Mary, eager to learn what You want to teach me!

Thursday, July 28, 2022

The Master Artisan

“Indeed, like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, house of Israel.” 

Jeremiah 18:6

When we went to Hanoi, we went to Bat Trang, a pottery village well known for making beautiful clay pots and figurines. Their clay was amazingly so soft and pliable I couldn't resist asking for some. But before the clay could get that way, it underwent several stages of softening, sifting and refining. So it is with us.


We are clay in the Master Potter's hand, and He is going to make of us the best masterpiece! That's why we go through so much in life! When the clay is finally soft and pliable, the potter puts it on a wheel which goes round and round. Don't you feel sometimes that we go through the same trials again and again? God allows it so we learn whatever it is He wants us to learn! God uses all the circumstances in our life. 

Nothing is ever put to waste. It can be painful, just as all the pinching and scraping and carving is to the clay if it could feel. But a Master artisan ALWAYS loves his clay. 

He is never harsh with his clay. His mind is fully on the clay, coaxing the clay, lovingly caressing it, working with its innate qualities, prodding forms out of it that are beautiful, one of a kind and unique.

And then, comes the big thing. The clay pot is put into the kiln! But this is necessary to harden the clay, or it won't retain its shape and cannot be used. Not an ounce of pain in our life is in vain. God wants to use us. That's why He gave us gifts and talents- so we can be a blessing to others! And we can help build His Kingdom on earth! 

But we are not only useful to Him. He wants to make us beautiful too. Just as the Master artisan paints and glazes his creations, and puts his name on them, so too our God makes us beautiful and calls us His own!

Yes Lord, create something beautiful out of the muck, the mess, the sin in my life!

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Pearl of Great Price

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

Matthew 13:46

The two most expensive pearls in the whole world were found off the island of Palawan here in the Philippines. One, the “Pearl of Allah”, sometimes called the Pearl of Lao Tze, is valued at $35 million and was found in 1934. A more recent find, about 16 years ago, is yet to be named. A fisherman found it inside a giant clam. It is huge, more than 2 feet long, and 1 foot wide and weighs 75 pounds! The fisherman hid it under his bed, his house burned down, and the pearl survived. The pearl is valued at an amazing 100 million dollars! 

Even if I sold all I had, I could not buy that pearl! And what in the world would I do with it? I cannot think of anything that I would sell everything I have, in order to possess! 

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

I remember going to a pearl farm in Hanoi several years ago. The guide showed us these ugly, mud encrusted shells. We had to dig into all that muck to find the pearl. I know Jesus sees the pearl in us, encased in sin and the mud of our own selfishness. He was willing to give up His glory, His power, to be crucified by the very men He came to save, just so He could ransom us from our hopeless state. We too should try to see our brothers and sisters as pearls of great price. How do we bring ourselves out of the muck? There is only one way, and Jesus is that way, the truth and the life. 

Thank You Lord! I cannot imagine what You went through to save us! 

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

God Made a Way

“He who sows good seed is the Son of Man, the field is the world, the good seed the children of the Kingdom. The weeds are the children of the Evil One, and the enemy who sows them is the Devil.” Matthew 13:37-39

The world is God’s garden and we can read in Genesis that He made this world absolutely awesome and beautiful. “And God saw that it was good.” This verse is repeated several times when He was creating the stars, vegetation, and living creatures. Even when He created mankind, He repeated, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31) Good. So where does evil come into the world? Well, from the story of the first people, Adam and Eve, we see how because when God made us in His image, He also gave us the most incredible gift of free will. And just like Adam and Eve, we can choose to follow God’s best for us, or we can follow the opposite, which is what Eve was enticed to do. Out of all the good trees in the garden, she had to eat from the exact tree that God told them not to eat!

Adam was told clearly, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2:16) Nāḥāš which is Hebrew for snake or serpent is the creature representing the forces against man and God, and it was this creature who invited Eve to consider eating the fruit from the tree of good and evil. “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5)

And today, that same wily creature keeps bothering us and tempting us to disobey God, to think we know best for ourselves, to put ourselves first, to make our own rules, and make idols of man made desires. But we know that even if this world is dark and makes us weary most of the time with all the quarrels and toxicity, goodness will prevail because God made a way even where there is no way. Let us hold fast to the Lord, the Lamb of God, who ransomed us from the grave. 

Monday, July 25, 2022

Whoever Wishes to be Great

“Rather, whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant.” Matthew 20:26

Does this make any sense?

How can anybody who wants to be great apply to be a servant? Quite absurd in the world’s way of thinking! But no one can doubt that Jesus was great except perhaps some perverse people. And Jesus had the heart of a servant. A servant is not a slave by any means because a slave has to serve his master involuntarily most of the time. But a person with a servant heart has a purpose and a gift. And as St. Peter said in 1 Peter 4:10, “God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another.” 

I was impressed with the story of an usher. We do not know his name like many servants in history but God knows His name! In November 1934, two young boys came into a tent where a revival meeting was going on. The place was full, so they turned to leave. But an usher saw them, put his big arms around them and said, “I'll find you seats, boys! Follow me!" He led them to two seats with the choir. 

That was the night that one of the boys, Billy Graham, gave his life to Christ, after listening to the preaching of Mordecai Ham. What if the usher was more interested in ogling some giggling girls? What if he was daydreaming? What if he was seething with some imagined insult? 

How many times have I concentrated on myself and what I think I am entitled to,  rather than being present in the moment doing the job I am supposed to do?  If I value Jesus as my treasure, my heart will be in the right place of serving the people He loves. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). Lord, forgive me. Teach me to be a servant like you. 

Sunday, July 24, 2022

Ask and You Shall Receive

‘So I say to you: Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you. For the one who asks always receives; the one who searches always finds; the one who knocks will always have the door opened to him.’  Luke 11:9-10

Like most people, I lift up many prayers to God, mostly for healing, for I know many who are sick. I also pray for our Church, our country, people who are unjustly incarcerated, the terrible war in Ukraine, the persecutions happening in China, Afghanistan, Nigeria, etc. etc. The list is so absurdly long. Some of my prayers have not been answered in the way I want them to be answered. So this verse found in Luke 11 needs an explanation. It reads that the one who asks ALWAYS receives, the one who knocks will ALWAYS have the door opened to him. 

We know that God is good, and we can trust Him. But sometimes we question why He does not answer our prayers? He promised, after all! Does the answer to prayer depend on our heart, or does it depend on God’s heart? In Exodus chapters 7-12, we read the story of the ten plagues inflicted on Egypt because the Pharaoh did not let the Jews go free. In Exodus 7:13 and repeated in many other verses, we read, “Yet Pharaoh’s heart became hard”. In Ex 9:12, it says, “But the Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh…”. I would say that was not fair at all if God hardened the heart of Pharaoh so as to show His power and thus inflict suffering on untold numbers. But first before we become too adamant about that, let us compare God to the sun. 

“Let it never be forgotten that, although we may do nothing about the Word we hear, the Word will do something to us. The same sun melts ice and hardens clay, and the Word of God humbles or hardens the human heart” (Vance Havner). It is certainly true that the Gospel can bring people down to their knees in repentance but can also make another dig his heels to do the opposite of what God wants, can make us stubborn and resentful even. So when we pray, we need to pray with a grateful and open heart, ready to accept God’s will, trusting that He will answer in the best time and place and circumstance. When we start with that premise, I have no doubt we will see God work in His mercy, infinite wisdom and power. 

Saturday, July 23, 2022

What Wolf Will You Feed?

‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? Where have the weeds come from?’ Matthew 13:27

In “Anawim Way”, I read that the field in this parable is our heart, and the wheat is anything that comes from the Lord and leads us closer to Him. The weeds therefore are that which brings us farther and farther away from Him. Both the wheat and weeds can be found in the field of our heart.

This leads me to an old Cherokee story about an Indian chief teaching his grandson about life. He told the boy that there is a struggle inside each one of us between two wolves. The dark wolf is evil, full of anger, greed, arrogance, guilt, fear, lies, resentment, revenge, intolerance and unforgiveness. Then there is the white wolf who is good, kind, compassionate, generous, a peacemaker, hopeful, truthful, full of faith and empathy.

Worried, the little boy asked his grandpa which wolf will win. The old Cherokee patted the boy on the head and answered, “The one you feed.” 

Every day, we have the chance to feed these wolves. We are confronted by choices and decisions that we may find trivial, but actually will define our life in the long run. This truth has been put into words by so many. Mahatma Gandhi said, “Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.” And Sean Covey, the writer of so many best selling books on habits and decisions, wrote, “We become what we repeatedly do.”

Let us fill our minds with the truth and teachings from Jesus, and constantly drink from the source of living water. Let us not allow anger, envy, or any negative emotion dwell in our hearts. Is there anyone we have not forgiven? Take the time to pray for that gift, to be set free from the shackles of unforgiveness. Are we angry, anxious, hopeless? Let us discipline ourselves to fill our minds with gratefulness. Let us feed the “wolf in us” we want to win! 

Friday, July 22, 2022

Marvelous Gift!

 "They have taken the Lord’s body out of the tomb, and I don't know where they put Him!" John 20:2

Can you hear Mary’s frantic voice, her head swiveling to look in every direction, trying to see behind every crevice, rock formation, tree? What can THEY have done to Jesus’ body? 

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Mary Magdalene, she from whom Jesus cast out seven demons! Of course she was very grateful after that, and kept at Jesus’ side along with other Apostles, men and women, who traveled with Him. She, with Jesus’ mother, John the beloved Apostle, and some relatives, were at the foot of the Cross when Jesus died. We cannot imagine what she felt, staring at the blood dripping from Jesus’ body. She was probably clutching at Jesus’ mother’s cloak, both seeking comfort and trying to give comfort. Two nights after, with hardly any sleep, Mary was the earliest at the tomb, bearing spices, and a lot of will power. 

I remember when my mom died, and I walked to our church very near our house, where her body lay in her coffin. It was early in the morning, maybe 3 or 4 am, and I was alone with my thoughts. It was very dark, and all I wanted was to be with her, just one last time. So I can fully understand Mary. Perhaps she wanted to pour out her fears, her sorrow, her dashed hopes, despair even. 

But because Mary went, she is given a gift. She does not know what it means at first. 

Sometimes, even most of the time, God's gifts are shrouded in mystery. And like all gifts, there is an anticipation, a hope, then a revelation. We only realize its significance, its worth, when we stay close, trusting, and we ponder like Mary, the mother of Jesus. She whose heart was pierced, “treasured all these things and  reflected on them in her heart." (Luke 2:19) 

The revelation of Easter, Resurrection Sunday, when our Lord rose from the dead and appeared to many, is not something we should keep for ourselves. It is also not something we reflect on just once a year. Like Mary Magdalene, after unwrapping the gift and realizing its value, we should go out and share it with others. “This is what I found out! HOPE is alive! All Jesus said was true! IS true! ALL His promises!"

Because Jesus rose from the dead, as He said He would, we should go back to ALL He said and live the way He said we should live, so we can have ALL He promised we could have! Thank you Lord for this absolutely marvelous awesome gift!

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Love Letters

“Two evils have my people done: ​they have forsaken me, the source of living waters; They have dug themselves cisterns, ​broken cisterns, that hold no water.” Jeremiah 2:13

Jeremiah was a prophet of God, known as the “weeping prophet” for his book of Lamentations. He called on the nation of Judah to repent. The people had forsaken God much like many people today. Instead of looking to the Word of God for guidance, for “living water”, they preferred other sources, other idols, other man made distractions. Digging our own cisterns is an abomination to the Lord because, what use is a water reservoir if it does not hold water? God has already provided “living water” for us, but we turn our backs on it! 

Even if we were able to collect water from our roofs to pour into our man made cisterns, what kind of water would it be? Certainly impure, dirty, contaminated! We can only be sure of water that comes from the highest source, God our Father, who made us, the stars, constellations and everything majestic on the earth. Why would we want to get our strength, wisdom, guidance, direction, purpose, from anyone or anything else? How much time do we spend on Facebook, Netflix, watching telenovelas, compared to the time we spend praying or reading the Bible? It is so sad that many of us are content with our own idea of God, and we do not want to really know Him, or are too lazy to read His love letters to us, the Bible. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Bloom Victoriously

“But some seed fell on rich soil, and produced fruit, a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold. Whoever has ears ought to hear.” Matthew 13:9

In John 1:14, we read, “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.” Jesus is the Word, and He is both the Message and the Messenger. How do we receive Him? What kind of hearts do we have? We will be blessed if our hearts are rich soil, eager for the seeds to take root and grow. 

Jo Saxton, author of the book, “The Dream of You” had a running battle with negative self talk. After all, she had heard so much judgment growing up. 

“You’d be so pretty if you weren’t so dark skinned.”

“Stay out of the sun so you won’t get even darker.”

“Your nose is too broad.”

“You should go on a diet.”

“Men don’t like tall women.”

“I like you and I’m attracted to you, but I can’t date you because you’re black.”

It was not until she discovered the Bible that things began to change. She realized that God’s Word was a weapon, the sword of the Spirit (Eph 6:17).She would read Psalm 139 daily, sometimes several times daily. 

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:13–14, niv)

Jo wrote: “It was a personal war as well as a path to transformation. I didn’t realize that every time I declared that verse, I was cutting away at chains, slicing and splicing the most seductive and stealthy of lies.

I didn’t know that God’s words had fallen like seed in the soil of my heart, growing in the dark, taking root until they broke my life open into a new dawn.” 

Are there battles you are fighting? Insecurities? Fears? Anxieties? Sickness? Find the Word to speak the truth into your heart and let it grow and bloom victoriously. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

God’s Family

“Who is my mother?  Who are my brothers?” And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers. For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother.” Matthew 12:48-50

How wonderful that Jesus includes us in His Royal family, for that is what He is saying here. If we do the will of our Father in heaven, in loving obedience, we are adopted into God’s household. And what better way to truly belong but to study our family’s history? The Bible is not merely a book of instructions, but it lays down the story of our Father and His plan to bring us into our eternal home. We get to know the different members of our family, but most importantly, we will be introduced to Jesus. All the books of the Bible are signposts to Jesus. We can find him not only in the New Testament, but also in the Old. Jesus Himself said in Luke 24 verse 27 that we can find Him in the Scriptures, from the stories about Moses and all the prophets.

I think of reading the Bible as a treasure hunt. So much to marvel at, and to learn. How many times have I wished that what Jesus explained to the two disciples on the way to Emmaus (Luke 24) was written in the Bible. But I suppose if we find the truths for ourselves, we will own it. Just like we will be more confident that we belong in God’s family, we are loved by Him, cherished even, because He sacrificed so much for us. 

Let us read the Bible and get to know our family. When Jesus saw His mother and John the disciple at the foot of the cross, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” (John 19:26-27) When we get to heaven, wouldn’t it be exciting to see Mother Mary, and John, and Simon Peter, and Moses, and King David, and oh, so many other inspiring, crazy, intimidating, lovely relatives face to face? That is what Jesus is inviting us to! A heavenly banquet with our eternal family! 

Monday, July 18, 2022

God’s Friend

Some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Jesus, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” Matthew 12:38

I am trying to remember when I asked for a sign from God. I have never been one of those women who asked for a red rose or a white rose or whatever. Not that I think it is wrong to ask for a sign. In Psalm 86:17, David asked God for a sign of His favor. Moses in Exodus 33:18, not only looked for a sign from God, but asked God to show him His glorious presence. 

Amazingly, God did answer Moses with conditions. In verse 19-23 of Exodus 33, we can read how the Lord replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and I will call out my name, Yahweh….As my glorious presence passes by, I will hide you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will remove my hand and let you see me from behind. But my face will not be seen.”

If we think about it, it is not surprising that God favored Moses. After all, we can read in Exodus 33:11 that the Lord would speak to Moses as one speaks to a friend.

I was listening to Father Mike Schmitz just last night and he was talking about his relationship with his father. (Listen to it here - ) His father obviously wanted to get close to him, inviting him to go fishing or hunting. BUT Fr. Mike did not want to do those things, he did not want to go with him. His dad would say, “Come with me, I’m going running”, but Fr. Mike would just get annoyed! He did not want to do anything that his father liked to do! He also did not want to tell his father what he was reading because he thought his father would think he was foolish. Sometimes while he was reading about Tarzan or whatever, Fr. Mike would catch his father looking at him, and he would ask why. His father said he just liked looking at his son. He wanted to get to know his son, he wanted to be with his son, but Fr. Mike would rebuff all those overtures! Reflecting on this later in life, Fr. Mike realized that many of us are like that with God. God wants to get close to us, He wants to be friends, but we act like spiritual orphans. Fr. Mike called it ‘self-imposed fatherlessness’.

Father, if there are ways I turn my back on You, spurning Your efforts to get close to me, snubbing Your invitations to get to know You, please help me to reconnect with You! I want to be Your friend! 

Friday, July 15, 2022


 "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath." Luke 6:5

If you've watched Fiddler on the Roof like I have (many times!!!), you've seen how the Jews kept the Sabbath holy as God commanded them to do in Exodus 20:8-11.  “Remember the Sabbath day, keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord God, in it you shall not do any work...The Lord blessed the Sabbath and hallowed it." In the movie, we see how the family gathers together and Tevye and Golde lead the prayers.

It's funny how most of us, including me, find it so hard to follow God's teachings and laws when it is actually for our own good. Consider when God wants us to forgive those who have wronged us. Forgiveness sets us free from bondage. And when God teaches us to work 6 days a week and to set aside one day for rest, it is also for our good! It is a gift to us, a day in which to celebrate His goodness and faithfulness. If we learn to focus on God one day a week, we will be restored, refreshed and strengthened. “The joy of the Lord is our strength!"

We should gather as a family, as a community, as a parish, and recognize our God as the giver of every good gift. God wants to bring us into His rest. What God finds good, He wants to share with His people He calls His own. Just as on the seventh day He rested and enjoyed the work of His hands (Genesis 2:1-2), seeing how good it all was, so too does God want us to stop and experience that same joy. 

If we set aside one day a week to follow God's 4th commandment, it is like saying, "Lord God, I put You first, not the things my hands have made. I recognize that everything comes from You and I honor You. I want to receive every blessing You have in store for me!"

Find Rest

"Come to me, all you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you. Take my yoke upon your shoulders and learn from me...Your souls will find rest." 

Matthew 11:28-29

Usually what we remember about this well loved verse is that Jesus will refresh us, and our souls will find rest. We usually disregard what Jesus said about learning from Him which is a prerequisite to finding rest. Rest of course does not mean sleep or having time off. What Jesus promises is a season of refreshment, fullness of life, peace of mind, and restoration. It is very clear that to be in this enviable state, we need to learn some life skills from Jesus. Humility, generosity, putting God and what He loves first, prayer, and first and foremost that Jesus is Master and Lord. How else can He become our teacher?

When we observe people, we will see that when we need help, when we are burdened, very often we run to other people and other places, rather than go to Jesus who is waiting. We may even run to Church or religion. But going to Church is not the same as making Jesus our teacher, brother and friend. We need to read His Words, His teachings for ourselves, and keep it in our heart. As we read in Proverbs 4:20-22, “My son, attend to My words; incline thine ear unto My sayings. Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. For they are life unto those that find them and health to all their flesh.”

St. Augustine said it well, “You have made us for yourself, Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in Thee." He made this statement after his many wanderings and running after the longings of his heart. “I was in love with love and I hated safety," he had said. So instead of following our heart, we need only to follow Jesus.

Lord, teach me to enter into Your rest!

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Like a Child

“You have hidden these things from the wise, and revealed them to the childlike." 

Matthew 11:25

It's good to ask kids questions. They give you the cutest answers, which sometimes are quite wise. Once I asked Josh, my son, when he was a toddler, "Why are you so cute?" He answered as if it was the most obvious thing on earth, "Because I'm Jesus' friend." 

One kid was asked what love was, and he said it was when his grandpa tied the shoe laces of grandma because grandma has arthritis, but his arthritis is worse than hers. When a 9-year old boy was asked for the meaning of success, he thought for a moment and answered, "Not giving up." Another 5-yr old was asked, "How was your day?" "Awesome!" Surprised, the mom asked, "Why?" "Because I wanted it to be!" 

Indeed, we lose a lot when we complicate things. Kids quarrel but they usually forgive their friends right away, and forget about what they fought about. Adults carry grudges and resentments a long time. Ambitions make us suspicious of others, and selfish as well. These are the heavy burdens we carry that Jesus teaches us to give to Him. We were meant to be like little children, Jesus' friends, depending on Him, loving others and not competing with them. And yes, we will be successful if we don't give up! 

Lord, may we be like little children. Excited for each new day, and all the opportunities in it to love, and to experience this awesome world we live in. Help us to give our burdens to You and find the rest You want to give us.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Hearing God’s Voice

“If today you hear His voice, harden not your hearts.” Psalm 95:8

Obedience brings blessing and disobedience closes the door. But how can we obey if we do not recognize God's voice?  It seems as if the prophets in the Bible could talk to God, even argue with Him and bargain! 


The thing is if we want to know God's voice, we have to spend time with Him. It's like talking to a good friend on the phone. Even if we don't see him or her, we recognize their voice, we can even tell their mood! In a study conducted by Canadian linguists, they found that most people could identify a friend or relative's voice after hearing just 4 syllables. We should make it our aim to recognize our Father's voice. If we want to hear Him, He will find a way for us to hear Him. But first, I think we should get familiar with His words and promises, so when He speaks to us, we will know it's Him. 

Isn’t it fascinating that in Jesus’ fourth resurrection appearance on Easter Sunday, He gave the two disciples on their way to Emmaus (Luke 24:13–32) a Bible study? In verse 27, we read that, “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” Most of us, like these disciples do not recognize Jesus when He speaks to us, much less see Him in the scriptures. St. Jerome wrote that  “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ!”

If we want to hear God’s voice and recognize Him, first we have to get to know Him in the Word. Reading the Bible is like digging for hidden treasure! 

Monday, July 11, 2022

He is No Fool

There are a lot of paradoxes in the Bible. To be rich, we have to give. To live eternally, we are supposed to die to ourselves. To be first, we should be last. One of the most confusing is Matthew 10:39, “Whoever finds his life, will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."

Most people think that if we follow Jesus! we LOSE our life. That's why many don't want to do it. But the opposite is true. If we allow Jesus to take the wheel, and we go where He leads, instead of expecting Him to run after us, we will find fullness of life!

We become the best we can be!

After all, as it says in Matthew 10:30, “Even the hairs on your head are ALL numbered." He knows our weaknesses and strengths, our gifts, talents, and potential.


Jim Elliot, a missionary who lost his life trying to bring the Word of God to the Aucas in Ecuador, once said: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain that which he cannot lose."

I am sure we all don’t want to be fools! 

Sunday, July 10, 2022

The Face of Christ

“The law of the Lord is perfect..." 

Psalm 19:8

I read in pencilled notes on the margin of my Bible that Raniero Cantalemessa, Preacher to the Papal Household since 1980, under Pope John Paul II, Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, gave an example of how love and grace fulfill the law.  He wrote,  "A pregnant woman was told by her doctor exactly what rules to follow during her pregnancy. The woman was so taken by the miracle of new life growing within her that she lovingly observed all the rules until her baby was born. That's how we should see the commandments. Simply as a means to a far greater end. If we keep them, we will be that much more open to the Holy Spirit, as He brings Christ to birth in our lives." 

We may not like following rules, but just as we realize when we are older that our parents had the very best in mind for us, we should know that God's commandments are given to us because of His love for us. 

One of the non-negotiable laws of God, and one of the most difficult to fulfill is to love our neighbor as ourselves. In Luke 10, Jesus illustrates this in the well known Parable of the Good Samaritan. He teaches the scholar of the law that a neighbor is always the one who treats others with mercy and compassion. We always need to be reminded of this as sometimes there are just too many we meet on the wayside in need of a job, money, or help. How does one balance that out with our own needs, and of course our desire to save for emergencies, or other contingencies? 

I am reminded of Mother Teresa’s innumerable stories of the poor she encounters in the slum streets of Calcutta. No sooner than she brings food to one family, than a child or the mother gathers some to bring to a neighbor! They may not even know the commandment of God much like the Samaritan in the parable, but they are the face of Christ to their neighbor. Pope Francis said, “…mercy towards a human life in a state of need is the true face of love. This is how one becomes a true disciple of Jesus and the face of the Father is manifested.”