Sunday, June 3, 2018

HEART CHIPS


When was the last time you said, "I can do this, I'm in control;" then you come crashing down, embarrassed that you bungled it?

All because you depended entirely on yourself. Oh yes, I have a lot of these faux pas. Had one recently. Trite, really, but humbling nonetheless.

This teacher who's so used to speaking before large audiences struggled with her words and totally lost them in front of a few people. 

Irritating for someone who takes pride in her gift of gab.

Pride! Aye, there's the rub.

Seemingly insignificant mistakes expose the chips of our hearts. When we're so sure of ourselves—self-sufficient, that's when we realize we can't do things on our own.

We are by nature control  freaks, in varying degrees, right?

"I'll prove to them who's right."

"I'm way smarter."

"If only I could..."

We fail nonetheless and oftentimes hurt the people we love—even ourselves.

Failed relationships, disastrous careers, even national disasters—caused by politically-motivated decisions resulting in economic and social dysfunction—can be traced back to what we may term here as "Me-tology" or "I-cology".

Me-tology/I-cology 101 is easy to master. No need to enroll.

We've had it within us since birth—our sinful nature passed on to us by our first parents since they decided they had the wherewithal to do things on their own.

Me-tology is all about flaunting carnal-minded me-me-me, my desires, my plans, my rights, my innate ability to produce results. Wonder why children fight?

Our day-to-day stresses stem from our I-centered hearts: being unmindful of others' point of view, judging people based on your limited perspective, always thinking you're right or better, taking vengeance. Quite a list.

It's not so much the enormity of our challenges, but the state of our hearts, which the Lord cautions us about. Have we yielded all of our hearts' cavities to Him?

This heart of mine can be pretty deceitful and cold, making me veer as far away from God, especially when I don't pray and read His Word. Yes, even if you're a Christian!

"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it," cautions Proverbs 4:23.

The moment I start thinking "I can do it," the sooner I realize I can't—on my own.

"I can do all things through Him (Christ) who gives me strength," Philippians 4:13. With Jesus, I can!

John 15:5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

The "doing" is still mine; the wisdom and direction all His. My Creator knows how and where I should point my nose. I just need to follow His lead.

And our big God is not just concerned with the big things. He's interested in our littlest concerns—yes, even in simple matters like opening your mouth.

Prayer: Lord, forgive me for my self-sufficiency. You created me. You've deposited your abilities in me. Help me to realize that apart from you, I am mere dust and can't do anything by myself. I declare my dependence on you. Help me Holy Spirit, in Jesus' name.







Tuesday, May 1, 2018

INTEXTICATED

No automatic alt text available.Intexticated. Anyone been diagnosed as such?

I hope you're not one of them―perpetually romancing your smart phone, turning catatonic once the gadget slips from your grasp.  

Some say it's a social malady, just like alcohol addiction; so is it possible that some enterprising folks may already have rehab centers for the intexticated?

"Intexicated" refers to someone who is distracted by texting or composing an email on a handheld device while walking or driving, thus unaware of his surroundings.

So serious is this epidemic that the Automotive Club (AAA) of  Southern California has, in its recently launched road safety campaign, lumped drinking and texting as the major causes of fatal road accidents; "with nine people killed and 1,000 injured daily in America," notes the advert.

I wonder if the message's target audience even noticed, or if they even care―because serious and fatal car crashes attributed to cellphone use continue to daily hog the headlines in these parts.

Intextication is not just a road safety concern. It is a serious problem pervading mostly young people and a lot of social media-enamored adults.

Experts report that since the advent of the smart phone, hordes of youngsters are sleeping less, hardly socializing and are depression and suicide-prone.

This teacher has seen this trend first-hand among students. With less sleep, they find it hard to concentrate and do their course works. It's as if knowledge enters their heads in a flash, then exits as soon as it’s been discussed, reported or written about. Ask about the topic the week after and it seems to have been erased from their memory.

Because if they fiddle with hordes of texts, sites and apps day and night, all they really catch are soundbites or snapshots of informationtoo flimsy to even make sense of. That's poor substitute for disciplined thinking or analysis.

A flooded mind is like a river cluttered with debrismurky and unable to freely flow. No wonder youngsters or the intexticated lack focus, get into accidents easily, struggle with process and systematic thinking, or fail to even carry decent conversations.  

College Student Asleep in Class
image credit: http://collegetidbits.com
Sometimes I think some of my students have already turned into zombies. Imagine them sleep-deprived, mind foggy and numbed because of their incessant net surfing. Yes, they raise their hands at roll call.

But come discussion time, they simply turn ghost-like―unresponsive, or simply asleep, but with eyes wide open. Some make you feel they're focused on what's on the table while their fingers are busy with their cellphones under their desks.

Technology is a blessing, but abused can be a vexation, and therefore deadly.

Intextication, like intoxication, has its consequences. Ask recovering alcoholics. The road back is bumpy, but not impossible, by God's grace.

That's why this warning: Luke 21:34 34 “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life…"

Ephesians 5:18 "Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit."

Be intexticated instead with the Word, which leads to life, wisdom and sobriety.


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