Thursday, May 31, 2012


(Photo from
I blew in to Washington DC in time for the US memorial day, this nation's annual tribute to its servicemen and veterans who have served with either the army, navy, marines, air force or the coast guard. 

I thought that would just have been a White House or Capitol Hill event---staged mainly because of tradition or media consumption.

But in the church we attended, a big chunk of the recent Sunday service focused on thanking God for these servicemen's lives and giving them accolades for their sacrifices for freedom's sake.

Cadets marched in with the US flag. The congregation heartfully sang the national anthem. Eleven honorees took center stage. 

"I handled supplies, from toilet paper to missiles," shared Filipino Christian Center's Rev. Andy Miranda, the day's preacher---also a retired navy personnel.

But the tribute's high point still belonged to God. Worship flowed freely.

"Freedom is never free," added Pastor Andy, referring to Christ's sacrificial death on the cross for the salvation of all mankind.

"Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends" (John 15:13). 

Countless lives go on the line everyday all over the world for the sake of democracy.

Thank God we live in countries where freedom of speech, religion, assembly, owning properties, etc., are respected as unalienable rights. 

But those are only a chunk of the freedom equation.

Even while a lot of people today enjoy comfortable, materially-satisfying, free-wheeling and fun-filled lives, millions are still  far from being free.

Countless others suffer malnutrition and bloodshed under oppressive regimes in several countries.

But even where citizens consider themselves enjoying human rights, many find themselves bound.

They're up to their ears in debt. You'd be surprised that in this land of milk and honey, people are already awash in debt even while attending college.

A recent Yahoo News headline: "This Bright-Eyed Young Man Was Utterly Demolished by Student Loans"

Untold numbers seem to have been stuck in the lust lane, where the insatiable need for drugs, sex, money and power supersede their desire for normalcy.

When sober, they realize how empty these highs seem; yet they're at it again at a moment's notice, unable to control the urge.

Couples, too centered on "me," instead of "we," easily call it quits, resulting in dysfunctional children fathering even more dysfunctional kids who get caught up in their own webs of insecurity and poor self-image. 

All these prove that governments could not dictate or legislate---even fight---for our freedoms completely.

Real freedom comes only through Jesus. He alone can release us from every form of bondage.

"The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind," declares Jesus in Luke 4:18.

Jesus' humiliating death nailed every kind of bondage to the cross. Forever.

In Jesus, you can have peace within even with chaos around you, joy even in sorrow, healing even in brokenness, and hope even when those around you have given up.   

Let every day be a memorial day for thanking Jesus who promised to set us free. 

Monday, May 21, 2012


Our soon coming bundle of joy will make this pair of Joaqui and Charlize a trio.
I'm at this stage in my life when God usually sends me on apostolic missions.

Three more days (tatlong tulog na lang!) to blast off to the next mission, not to the moon, but somewhere in the US east coast, and I've yet to pack things---me having become catatonic, either because of excitement or the stress of having to fly looonnnggg hours and take a sprint in a humongous airport to catch the next connecting flight within a one and a half hour layover period.

But what makes it all so worthwhile is the mission per se: another apo or grandchild to cuddle and hug and smell and love, and observe metamorphosing every single day. (Aren't they such perfect, beautiful beings?!) A miracle indeed!

You see, my son Carlo and his wife Opal will welcome their first baby in June.

This June baby (It's a girl we've been told.) is the third in our line of apos, next to Joaqui (nine years old) and Charlize (five). 

And I wouldn't miss this June or fourth of July fireworks for the world. 

Children are gifts from the Lord and it is therefore with a sense of awe and wonder---and seriousness of purpose---that I approach each apostlic mission.

And what a timely event! My next book is on grandparenting; and in that book, I devote a chapter on overseas grandparenting.

The book tackles the challenges of grandparenting---its joys and pains, its sweet and sour parts, its sacrifices---especially in our day and age when Filipinos are scattered abroad as OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) or as aspiring residents of countries like the US, Canada, Australia.  

It also delves into the more sensitive aspects of grandparenting, like being involved in the nurturing of babies born to single moms or grandkids who are special. 

But more than these, the book focuses on the unrelenting love of our Father God who wants His purpose and great plan fulfilled through our children and our children's children.  

So I just want to give you all a heads up on these two events. 

I will certainly miss my bedmate, coffeemates, lunchmates, praisemates, learnmates (students), teachmates (co-teachers), prayermates, churchmates, textmates and etceteramates. So, till we meet again!

If God wills, the book should be out in bookstores by September this year. 

Meanwhile, on to my apostolic mission!

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Cheap may mean any of these: devalued, achieved with little effort, of poor quality, inexpensive, or worthy of no respect. 

As far as things are concerned, what would you consider "cheap?" Something bought at 50% or 75% off? No wonder people flock to malls when the big "sale" sign is up. 

A lot of times, you end up buying things you thought were cheap, only to discover you didn't need them. But because they're "cheap," giving them away later becomes easy. 

Don't we treat words, too, like so? Oh, talk is so cheap you can sweep them in large heaps, trash bins will be overflowing with them. The problem is---unlike cheap items which can be stored in closets to give our visitors a semblance of order in our homes, cheap talk could not be swept under the rug. 

And why not? Because words just could not be contained, especially if they are cheap! 

How does tsismis or slander get around? It starts when someone tells another in a hushed voice, "Hey, this is just between the two of us. Promise to keep it a secret, ha? Did you know that...? Alam mo ba?" 

Consider Luke 12:3: "What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs."

That's why before you know it, everyone is talking about it! Oh yes, it might even reach primetime newscast, especially if the subject holds an exalted office or enjoys celebrity status. I'd be afraid if one of those tabloid TV reporters get a hold of it. They treat everything as news---even fights between neighbors!

The problem too with cheap talk is that you can't take it back. It seems to have a life of its own, passing from ear to ear, each share morphing the tsismis to more horrendous proportions, until the real issue gets blurred.

Pity those whose names get dragged into the controversy. In the end, they find themselves getting mowed and thrown into the same pit of shame as the original subject, and yes, even the trash talkers.

Churches, organizations, and most of all, relationships have been severed because of cheap talk.  

That's why it's wise not to believe everything we hear or to circulate news whose credibility we're not sure of! And even if it's true, put a lid on those lips. Don't even be the source of the talk! 

Better yet, don't give people a reason to talk. A lot of times, we get into hot water because we act un-Christ-like. And we wonder why people talk. 

Consult the Holy Spirit! He is our teacher. He will also give us the ability to zip our mouths and deflect those thoughts heavenward. 
How could God allow a praying tongue to be enmeshed in cheap talk? 

As far as words are concerned, be a cheapskate instead.