Thursday, April 19, 2018

A PLEASANT AND PURE OFFERING




Our granddaughter Coleen was one of
the nine kids dedicated.
Babies! Aren't they the cutest?

Walk through your most pleasant thoughts and the road will lead you back to little children, babies particularly. They are the cuddliest, funniest, sweetest, and most amazing, huggable, kissable, lovable, charming, melt-your-heart cutie-pies. One just runs out of words! 

(Ask me, I'm one of those lolas. As far as we're concerned, our grandkids are the best.)

And each one is specialperfectly knit together by God in his mothers' womb, fearfully and wonderfully made, says David in Psalms 139:14.

Victory San Diego* (VSD) became some sort of goo-goo center recently as nine childrenfive of them babieswere dedicated to the Lord.

The entire VSD family came in full force, these kids' parents and  ministry volunteers putting on their snappy shoes to ensure the entire celebration went without a hitchfrom the fast, orderly and baby-fied set-up of the venue, the mouth-watering feast (Kids' mommies, you're the best!), to the baby dedication rites per se.

Pretty much in keeping with Jesus' (Luke 18:16) teaching his disciples: "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."
New-born Paul, dedicated by his parents Anne and Philip.

"It is not about committing a child to a religion," Pastor Robert Hern explained to the gathered VSD family, the children's sponsors and other guests. "A child is offered to the Lord so that when he is old, he will not depart from his Christian upbringing." 

Baby dedication takes its roots from biblical times.

Hanna, the prophet Samuel's mother, for example, offered baby Sam to the Lord. 1 Samuel 1:27-28 "So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life, he will be given over to the Lord."

The Lord Jesus Himself was presented and dedicated to the Lord by Mary and Joseph (Luke 2) in Jerusalem.

              Victory San Diego's Pastor Robert Hern                  
encourages the children's parents and sponsors.
Psalm 127: 3-5 "Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them..."

Pastor Robert underscored how the Lord treasures children, that they are rewards from Him, and as such, must be valuedloved, prayed for, and provided direction, significance and material needsby their parents. "They are like arrows that must be released, so that they might hit their mark someday, because the Lord's purpose has been built into each life."

Blessed are these children indeed!

Kudos to the Victory San Diego family for laboring with their parents as well.

All glory to Him who directs everything for His own good pleasure.

Prayer: O Lord, thank you for little children. You treasure them, so help us to value them too by leading them to You as their Way, their Truth and their Life. Amen.  


*Please like the Victory San Diego Facebook page. 
Website: http://victorysandiego.org/victorysandiego/ 
Address: 11010 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., San Diego, California (858) 800-4792

More prayers and laying on of hands
Two-some offering: LA and Jai's children, Eli and Emma
The venue prettified with baby photos and balloons
And of course, loved ones from San Diego came.
(This photo and below)


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

ANCHORS AWEIGH

Image result for popeye
Image credit:
http://www.imdb.com/
Mention "anchor" and the first image in my mind is that of cartoon character Popeye the sailor man with his anchor-tattooed arm―created by artist Elzie Crisler Segar in 1929.

I remember being fascinated by this character even when I was a teener in the 60s (Yes, I'm a baby-boomer!) craning my neck to catch this animated cartoon from outside our richer neighbor's window.

Each episode's wow! moment? When Popeye rapidly chomps on spinach and pouncesPOW!on his nemesis Bluto with his paddle-like arm.

The anchor is a popular maritime symbol―declaring, "I've been toughened, having braved the cruel seas," if a sailor sports one.

Real anchors are massive metal structures lowered into ocean beds to secure ships especially from strong ocean currents. Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Holly Herline writes (http://www.navy.mil's) that the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz once had a 60,000-lb. anchor with a 90 foot chain totalling 20,500 lbs. All of 30 tons! That's roughly equivalent to a one tractor-trailer.

File:US Navy 040116-N-7278A-003 Sailors prepare to paint the ship's anchor.jpg
Image credit:
http://www.submarinerdiving.com/
More than two thousand years ago, the greatest of all anchors dug in. "Anchor aweigh," must have been His Father's instruction, translated in sailor-speak.

Hebrews 6:19 describes Jesus as our soul's anchor, firm and secure. When life's turbulences or tsunamis threaten to wreck your family, finances or whatever you've depended on to survive, He assures:

"I am the Rock on which you stand. I will hide you and keep you. Never fear or be discouraged." Our mighty God who created this awesome universe has everything under control.

Returning to our beach front from our island hopping when my siblings, with our husbands, vacationed at El Nido, I was amazed to see so many unmanned boats probably a mile or more before the beach.

It was a pretty yet intriguing sightcolorful boats dancing with the wind and the waves, but with no boatmen, and not bumping into each other. "The boats have been anchored and parked for the night," our utterly suntanned boatman (We called him Apl.de.ap.) educated us.

Free-floating, happy and dancing boats, cool!

That's like the freedom we have in Jesus. Once He becomes your anchor, He takes your hand, lets your feet settle on His, and makes you dancewith Him directing your every step and body English.

Center of the Universe. Me-Moi and Myself. Lust Galore. Money-Money-Money. Pride of Life. This once used to be our song list. And we loved to sing their refrains. The more we sang them, the heavier they feltto the point where sinking into the miry depths was the only option.

You and I know of some who've been anchorless and ended it all.

Sufficiency apart from God is a no brainer. The stuff of Titanic tragedies.

Who is your anchor?

Boatmen soon call it a night.  

Jesus offers Himself to both be our boatman and anchor, through stormy nights and even on sunny days. Would you let Him?


Prayer: Jesus, be my Anchor. I struggle navigating through life. Be my Rock, my Refuge. I repent of my sins, entrust my life to You, and cast all my cares unto You. Be my Savior and Lord. 

Monday, March 26, 2018

AVALANCHE


Image may contain: 25 people, including Modjie Arenas Hernandez, Olmedo Yay, Nestor N Loida-Barga Mendoza, Maricor Magali and Gemma DelaCruz-Cacho, people smiling, people sitting and indoor
Usual group selfie
How does one respond to His multitude of blessings? 

Had my own share of grace avalanche recently—quite overwhelming I assure you.

"Your Name alone be glorified!" That should suffice. "I decrease while you increase, Jesus."

Let these photos remind me, my friends and my newly-discovered sisters in the Lord, of how God moved one recent Saturday when a group of ladies—from Love of Christ Fellowship in Rancho Bernardo, San Diego—gathered, as on Pentecost day, to feast on His Word, His promises, and His Spirit; and walked out of there inspired, encouraged and ready to face whatever this crazy world might throw at them, assured that Jesus is their Rock.


Plain and simple, we're one big happy family—spiritual as well as flesh and blood. That's why I thank God too for my loved ones and church friends who are consistently there, praying and rooting for each other through good and bad times. 

Jesus, you are amazing, indeed! To you alone belong all the glory.


Image may contain: 7 people, including Modjie Arenas Hernandez and Maricor Magali, people smiling, people sitting and closeup
Tunay na selfie




Notice the only male in the group? Thanks for coming,
Randy (not necessarily a photo-bomber, hehe). 
Modjie, loads of thanks!




Loida got my only remaining Grandparenting book.
Doesn't look like a grandma at all.
Maricor (left), thanks as usual for the invite and
your incredible energy and organizing skills!







Young set with Justine (right)


Pretty attentive audience
Never ending chika-han and laughter with same ladies and loved ones
My biggest inspirations: our grandkids Natalie and Coco (above);
and Joaqui and Charlize (who are in Sydney) 
Our Victory  prayer partners and bible study group in San Diego

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

EDIT

Image result for editor
Image credit: theopennotebook.com

EDIT

What would books or newspapers be without editors?

Almost incognito yet blessed with paaaaa-tience, they're like forensic scientists scouring through a manuscript's every word and phraseology to make sure the author's intended message gets conveyed.  

More than just minding a writer's grammar, sentence construction and logic, the editor is also a psychologist who second-guesses an author's intentionsall to make sure the reader gets his point.

Bluntly now: competent editors make writers, especially author-wannabes, seem flawless and smart.

A special shout-out to my editors Bezalie Uc-Kung, Lindy Hope, Karen Huang and Beng Alba-Jones for patiently poring through my book texts with laser eyes and hearts.


I had my own share of editing corporate newsletters in my past life. It was, to say the least, exhausting. I edited mercilessly (but with my clients' blessing)because company newsletters need to project an image of excellence and professionalism.  

After an edit, manuscripts turn into easy-breezy readsgrammar ironed out, words pruned down, inactive sentences made active, syntax fixed. Perfect mind tools to de-stress, dream-boost, discover new stuff, or plain put you on sleep-mode while comfortably curled up in bed.

Our lives could use some editing too.

We long for easy-breezy days yet we fill them with so much stuff we could hardly breathe. Just like unedited text, we may be subsisting on unnecessary fillers, or taking convoluted and messy turnssimilar to hanging predicates which make sentences hard to comprehend.

Trying to impress or please people, wanting to acquire more so you work to the max and find no time for restthese can make you lose your God-ordained flow and focus, with stress and toxicity gnawing at your joy.

Such was my novella until I met the best Editor of all. Jesus replaced my complaining with contentment, my fears with a peace and joy which could not be explainedin spite of my angst-filled situations.  

He's taught me to edit my own words and declarations too. I may get sick once in a while but I continue to confess Him my Healer, and so He doesimmeasurably. How many times have I lacked? He's become my provider, Jehovah Jireh, and has proven Himself so, many times over. 

Nowadays, peace guards my heart instead of worries.

Isaiah 45:2 "I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron."

Jesus can even edit out one's heart of stone, replace it with one attuned to Him.

Ezekiel 36:26 "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh."

You too could entrust your life story to the consummate Editor of all.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

EAR-LIFT

Augmentation gives a ray of hope for women who want to counter the inevitable sag of their front and rear fenders. 

More like grasping at straws or wind if truth be told, because really, youthful-you will inevitably  wilt like a prune in spite of your plastic surgeon's add-ons. Fact of life: your north wanting to meet with your south is irreversible. 

Makes you wonder, and while we're at it, why not go for ear augmentatîon instead? 

With mal-hears, less-hears or miss-hears resulting in frayed nerves and bungled relationships, maybe we need more ear-lifts than any kind of lift. 

But larger ears may lessen your curb appeal, metaphorically speaking.  Imagine yourself looking like a beagle or a rabbit with your augmented ear. 

Besides God made sure our two cute side flaps are perfect as they are. Our ears are magnificent little organs which direct sound waves into our brains and help our bodies maintain balance. So let the two ears suffice.

That's why He instructs us on their use. "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry," James 1:19.

Listening must be intentional, otherwise, heard messages just get stashed in our brain's trash bins or, as we often say, go out the other ear. Most of the time, we listen to rebut or to impress others with our counter-ideas. These can lead to senseless arguments if we're not careful.

This teacher prays her students would be quick to take notes to thoroughly understand their lessons, especially those on character, values and morals—versus their ears being tuned out and turned on to their smart phones instead. 

I bombard heaven with prayers for my children and grandkids, that they will heed Jesus' words instead of the voices subliminally spoken and peddled by a worldly system which labels good bad and bad good. 

A  Christian network reports that even children raised on biblical principles and environments have left their faiths to follow feel-good, live-free doctrines. 

But the hearing or listening issue is just the tip of the iceberg.  

James 1:22 "But be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." 

"Teachable" is what we call someone who applies the good that he hears. 

You may have a masteral or doctorate degree, or lord it over a number of people in your place of work, but if you're a bully and insensitive to people's situations, then you're just like a cloud without rain—high up there, but utterly useless. 

Listening is a heart matter as well.

King David was clearly a man after God's heart. Because David remained focused on God, he oftentimes heard from Him. And whatever God instructed, David obeyed—except for one, when he let lust get the better of him, resulting in the downfall of his kingdom. 

Lord, may our ears and hearts be totally attuned to You, in Jesus' name. 

image credit: beagles4sale.com


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

BEYOND OOH LA LA

Image result for orange fruit cross sectionWhat's your favorite fruit? Mine's pomelo, known too as grapefruit.

But for now, make that orange, for the point this blog wants make about "love".   

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control."

Notice: "Fruit," not "fruits".  It's all or nothing!

Intriguing, isn't it, that love is bundled with eight other traitsjust like an orange with its nine segments, a metaphor which graphically explains the wholeness of genuine character.

1 Corinthians 13 mentions "love" as the trait of all traits: "1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

"4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

"8 Love never fails."

Facebook has become quite a stage for overt declarations of love. Forgive old-fashioned me, but the first thing that comes to mind is, "Really?"

Is she that perfect? Does he indeed complete you? Is your life worthless without him or her?

Would anyone dare write this message? "You're arrogant, demanding and selfish; I love you anyway; and I'd be willing to take you back even if you make a mess of yourself."

Someone did, a long time ago. When he hung on the cross, Jesus made it known, "You have fallen so far away from your Creator, but I love you, so I came down from heaven to rescue you and bring you back to the Father."

The mush and the fluff, the flowers and the chocolates, the lavish dinners and gifts, and flowery FB messagesthese are feel-good declarations of love. Nice and sweet.

But don't mistake the wrapping for the real thing. Because the real deal can also be a deal breaker, if

The butterfly in your stomach will soon turn acrid. Betrayal, selfishness or jealousy may dent your relationship. Arguments may soon turn ugly. And for the married ones, bills will pile up, career issues may draw you apart, health issues will creep in. But genuine love never gives up.

Love is unconditional. Love forgives. Love embraces. Love cares. Love covers all wrongs. Love persists even if the object of your love has turned unlovable.  

And love is willing to start all over again, with the past left behind and never again reviewed.

Impossible? Yes, by my own effort! But with Jesus, everything is possible. 

Monday, January 15, 2018

DISCOVERING YOUR VOICE

Image may contain: 1 person, indoorOur five-month old granddaughter Coco is on a roll, more aware now of the many things going on around her, and discovering too that the world is not just about feeding, fussing, fretting and falling asleep.

She is now into more flavors than just milk, tinkers with toys in her secure play space which we call her office, and has lately discovered her voice.

She's found out she could screamand catch everyone's attention with it, which then leads to more screaming. LOL and Kodak moments, I assure you.  

And because of that, I decided to write this blog.

I apologize for my long absence here. Things had been a blur these recent weeks since we came to visit our son's family this side of the globe. Grandparents need to be grandparents and so that's what my husband and I are, currently, totally.

But back to my topic of discovering one's voice.

"You have your own voice, and nobody else can articulate it for you," said my friend Grace.  

I had long wanted to write for very specific demographics, particularly my students, yuppies and people in the corporate world, but I thought I didn't have it in me to write as excellently as her, Grace being a multi-awarded author of children's books and other inspirational literature.

"Just write," was her simple advice. And that encouragement has resulted in five books. I'm raring to continue writing the sixth, having finished two chapters back in Manila.

So I have my own voice afterall! That I could join the conversation, be a point-of-view that my students or any yuppie or someone trying to climb up the corporate ladder may consultbecause, come to think of it, I've been there, done that.

But it's really not just my voice. I am able to write because of my rich experience, the people who figured in it, but more so, because of the Word of God which has become my ultimate compass.

And that's my prayer for my children, grandchildren, loved ones and even my students. That they would develop their point of view, order their lives according to biblical truths, and talk about it with the same passion that Jesus had when He walked the earth.

Call it purpose, your calling, your reason for being. How could your  lifetalents, experiences, even your faithadd value to someone else's?

Coco's discovery of her voice surely animated her, giving her more reason to scream and experiment with her sounds. And we were just too happy to hear her do that.

Would anyone be excited to hear your point of view? More to the point, would anyone be blessed because you've lived according to that point of view?