Saturday, October 29, 2011

Adobo-Yummier by the Day

I had adobo for dinner.

That was the other day. And the day after. And for breakfast today. Burrrpp!

This pork (sometimes chicken or a combination of both) dish, seasoned with just the right amount of vinegar, soy sauce, pepper, a few laurel leaves and garlic---proportions vary and other ingredients are added depending on the region where you come from---is probably the Filipino's all-time favorite viand.

And everyone will agree:
adobo gets better by the day! Reheating further infuses those flavors on the meat, making it yummier still until it finally shreds and crisps and finds its way into your pandesal for baon.

Adobo just takes on a life of its own! Replicating itself in the lives of our children. It's my son Carlo's favorite and my grandson Joaqui's most-requested.

Joaqui always beams his happy face at the mention of adobo. I bet you, even if he migrates to other countries from Australia, adobo will eventually find its way into his would-be kids' tummies.

That's pretty much like the Word of God, especially if you get to eat its juicy parts.

"Jesus did not preach the gospel of heaven but the kingdom of God," said Ray An Fuentes as he led us in a bible study recently. "That's why he taught us to pray, 'Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven'."

He added, "This means that if we are in Christ, our lives should operate under heaven's systems. 'The kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power (1Cor.4:20),' but a lot of Christians' lives are not aligned with it."

I've been savoring and meditating on these words many days hence.

"I have come that you may have life and have it to the full," said Jesus (John 10:10).

Then Ray An let us chew on this verse further, word for word, meaning by meaning---like those bits of adobo shreds, using the Greek translation of the word "full":

Perissos (in the sense of beyond). To superabound (in quantity or quality). By implication, excessive, meaning exceedingly abundantly above, more abundantly, advantage, exceedingly, very highly, beyond measure!

"We must experience His words---not only be hearers but doers. Heaven does not operate on a budget of lack but of abundance!" Ray An added.

2 Peter 1:3-4---His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. Through this, he has given us His very own great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world by evil desires.

"Eternal life therefore is not just about making it to heaven, but a quality of life for those who put their trust in Jesus Christ," Ray An emphasized. Now that's some Word to chew on and live on!

Too bad
my adobo runs out today, soon totally out of my system with all the brushing and flossing and the digesting and eliminating.

But the Word of God remains embedded, in our hearts and in our souls---changing us from glory to glory with each taste of His Heavenly bread. It gets yummier by the day!

And by the way, He too said that these same promises---the Word which He feeds us with daily to nourish our spirit---are for our children and future generations as well. Some food, huh.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Put It On!

Today's a brand new day! What would you put on as soon as you get out of bed or to jump-start your anticipated busy day?

Hmm, let's see. Maybe grope for you slippers to dash to the toilet? Or your denture if you took it off last night?

And after shower, maybe a dash of anti-aging (with SPF 18) facial cream to somehow ease the crows' feet and smooth the creases off your face; plus dollops of ultra-moisturizing cream to restore life to by-now-sheenless arms and legs.

The latter, plus your cologne, of course promises to make you smelling fresh-out-of-shower the rest of the day.

Last of all, you don your clothes and shoes, socks or stockings, or your pair of glasses, and rush to your destination.

Tonight, I'll bet you'll even check your closet before retiring.

"Which jacket would match these blouse and pants?

"Will I wear pearls or that new turquoise necklace I bought last week at Southmall?

"My goodness, I need to buy a new pair of shoes to match my new bag!"

I know of someone who wakes up very early in the morning for a fresh coat of nail polish to match her chosen wear.

So many things to wear and put on! All to make us feel good, look good; to put up an image of being together, polished, smart and professional.

Ooops, we almost missed it: NEED to put on Christ! (Galatians 4:26)

How could I even make the day without the one who promised to give us abundant life?

How could I even survive in a day filled with news about contentiousness, fighting, hatred, selfishness, corruption, poverty, violence; and people mostly feeling more and more insecure and uncertain about tomorrow?

"Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes," says Ephesians 6.

It further explains, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."

No wonder in spite of our efforts to put it all together, to persevere, and to look good and project an air of being in charge, we most of the time catch ourselves struggling, as if caught between powerful forces.

That's why we need Christ!

More than our physical morning rites, we need to put on the full armor of God, so we can stand our ground especially during these evil days.

(The more of the news I watch, the more the end-time prophecies seem to take bigger proportions. But take heart, God promised to never leave us or forsake us!)

Put on His belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, with our feet ready to bring the gospel where He leads us. Then take our shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God!

Before springing from your bed tomorrow, put on worship, praise, thanksgiving.

Acknowledge God and His power over your life. Believe, me, if you do this, He'll prove Himself bigger than any challenge or problem you'll face any given day. He's waiting for us to kneel down, so He can exalt us and prove Himself great on our behalf.

So pray, read His Word, ask for His anointing. Put on Jesus and never be caught without Him.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Anybody There?

Not that he suspected something was missing, but he wanted to be sure it was there. Really there!

So I went for a CT scan - what my neurologist ordered to make sure all's well at my control center.

Chronic headaches lashed out stronger and more frequently recently so my doctor asked for a CT scan. If his prescribed meds were not working, something else might be at work and he needed to find out why.

So I had my 2 pm CT scan yesterday at the Asian Hospital. Took anti-allergy medication12 hours, then another tablet two hours, before scan. (A dye, which might cause allergies, apparently had to be injected to obtain a contrasting picture of my brain. Wow, chiaroscuro effect! Would they behold a Rembrandt?)

I had to fast five hours prior. Coming from teaching at school, I decided to head straight to the hospital's radiology reception area, sit zen-like, force myself to snooze, and banish all thought of food glorious food from my mind. That helped! I didn't feel any hunger pang or tinge of headache.

"Lord," I prayed, "please don't let me feel hungry so as not to offset a headache." And He listened.

Lance, a young, handsome male nurse - a through and through English-
ero - walked me through the method while he attached the needle for the dye injection. "My daughter in-law is also a nurse," I made chika, as I imagined him pursuing his calling in another country which paid nurses more equitably.

He was so efficient and kind I figured it won't take long for a recruiter to spot and lure him to either the US, UK or Australia.

With the preps over, Lance led me to a room with a narrow long stretcher and a huge globule-like end with a hole in it. And this was the real ordeal.

The order came: "Don't move!" Twenty minutes seemed like a century. So Rizal must feel this way, standing rigid in the middle of Luneta Park forever.

How could I even move when my body felt like pinned down and stretched in a barbeque stick; and that any wrong move would be a Humpty Dumpty moment for a great fall.

My head seemed stuck forever between two immovable bricks so my only entertainment came from memorizing the details of the rotating tubular gadget above me. I thought I stopped breathing too! Then the whirring sound came, as if I was being beamed up to outer space. Sorry, no flashing lights and extra-terrestrial visions there. Just audio effects.

Twice it happened, the second time with the dye injected for contrast effect. "Please raise you hand or move or say something if you feel any itchiness, hardness of breath, or anything at all," said Lance. Having felt none, I just continued praying and breathing. I never realized breathing was this wonderful. I felt alive!

"Is it still there?" I asked after being freed from that prison-like vise-grip. Unsure of what I meant, Lance's face contorted. "I meant, is my brain still there?" Then we had a good laugh.

Prognosis: No intracranial hemorrhage. Small chronic lacunar infarct, right temporal lobe - which may be from an old stroke which I didn't even know about. Lastly, cerebral atrophy, which my doctor explains to be a loss of some brain cells; also related to a stroke, explains Wikipedia.

Doctor's orders: Watch your cholesterol. Diet. And don't be such an A personality. In other words, slow down. You're not a spring chicken anymore!

Well, come to think of it, this whole experience just affirmed that in spite of my atrophied brain (I'm turning 60, and I rejoice that I still have it up there!) and an infarct (a stroke actually) which I never knew I had, my grey matter still functions as it should.

Yes, I get forgetful once in a while, especially with people's names. But I can still teach. Still pray and worship God in song. Still write and create concepts. Still be a wife and mother and wowa and sister-in-law and friend to my friends.

To what else could I attribute all of these but God's amazing grace?

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. If God is for me, who can be against me? The life I now live I live for Christ. I have the mind of Christ!

I believe in these and His countless biblical promises. He is able to do wonderfully in spite of my weakness and my atrophied brain.

That's why I will continue to rejoice in Jesus! He's my strength, my peace, my salvation, my wisdom, my everything!

"Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. Our God is a God who saves, from the sovereign Lord comes escape from death." (Psalm 68:19)