Sunday, December 30, 2012


We wake up tomorrow to a brand new year.

Oh yeah, we greet it with all the fireworks and enthusiasm our holiday-fired-up bodies can muster. But really, for many, "2013" will just be another number, a phantom if you will.

Consider: Many lying in hospitals or their death beds may not even see the sun rise tomorrow. One may be up and about today, feeling on top of the world, but will he be around for the roll call tomorrow?

Yesterday, today, tomorrow--- that I can grasp. Yesterday is gone but as I woke up today, yesterday was just a memory. Today is right here, right now, and this is where I have every chance to fulfill something---whatever! But tomorrow is something else---if, and that's a big if, I ever wake up.

That's why, to me, the concept of a new year is really just a blur. Nice to imagine what it holds for me, but nevertheless, iffy.

No wonder the bible tells us to consider each day, not this new year, as the day, the chance, the opportunity. Maybe the only day left to do one last good!

Psalms 118:24: "This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Today is a good time as any to appreciate our blessings, our loved ones, the fact that we still have breath and the strength to do the Father's will and purpose, because tomorrow may never come.

So be thankful now, be glad now, rejoice now! Send those flowers now. Say "I love you" now. Write that book now. Pray for someone now. Be reconciled now. Give now. Repent now. Choose life now. Know Jesus now. Be ready to face Him now.

"Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." (Psalm 90:12)

"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." (Lamentations 3:22-23)

Being hopeful about the new year is great. Planning to do this and that, or taking steps to be in a certain place or position next year is a mark of wisdom---and God has given us a good measure of that; but today is what matters---while he faithfully sends us new mornings.

Great is His faithfulness every morning: New mercy, new grace; and with these, fresh hope, fresh faith. 

Today, Jesus makes everything brand new, even our hearts. 

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.

"Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts." (Hebrews 4:7)

Photo credits: 1.  2.                                         4.

Saturday, December 22, 2012


Let me be a killjoy for a while. I know, it sucks, because we're in the middle of this wonderful season of partying and eating and drinking and gift-giving. 

But as I read the bible this morning, I was struck by what Jesus said in Luke 22:53: "... but this is your hour when darkness reigns." Judas had betrayed Jesus. This became the go-ahead for the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard and for the elders to take Jesus into custody.

Read today's headlines---Death Toll from Pablo Seen to Hit 1,500; Wounded Newtown Moves from Shock to Coping with the Trauma; Deadly Car Bomb Strikes Damascus; Tens of Thousands in Paris Street for Gay Marriage. All these point to a world battered, torn and dazed. In darkness.

For millions all over the world, Christ has remained in handcuffs somehow; and Christmas is an empty but frilly celebration.

But Christmas is all about Christ coming into a dark world. How is it that more than two thousand years after his coming, the world seems more dark than ever? Did we miss something here?

Because Matthew 4:16 tells us "... the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." 

In Luke 2:8, the shepherds who were going about their routine work at night were visited by an angel. They were terrified but the angel said to them, "DO NOT BE AFRAID, I bring you GOOD NEWS of GREAT JOY that will be for ALL THE PEOPLE! (emphasis and exclamation point mine)

You must have heard John 3:16 spoken like a broken record: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

"Believe" must be highlighted here. Ah, so those who believe in Jesus will not be lost? Even enjoy everlasting life?

Here's more: "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved---you and your household."

You want to be saved from a world that has become darker by the day? Jesus says in John 10:10, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

A life full of fear and anxiety and strife is not life at all; nor is a life that's contrary to God's design for right living. 

I remember this message which has been going round and round our emails. May I summarize his message for us: We wonder why God does not show up to save us from calamities or storms or the cruelty of other men. What kind of God would allow these things to happen? And so the faith of many grows cold. But have we really invited God into our lives? Or have we turned our backs on Him?; telling Him, "I don't want to have anything to do with you," then we worship instead our god of self, money, power, silver, gold and wood.

A nation continues to shake their fists at God by disallowing Him from their public schools and offices, even as they justify abortion, same sex marriage and materialism. Elsewhere in the world, idol worship, perversion, greed and corruption rule.

More to the point: Is God allowing calamities and tragedies in greater measure today because He wants to call our attention? That we're doing it all wrong and the only way we can be saved from our fears, is to seek Him who can calm all our storms, even snatch us out of the fire and stop the bullets, real or spiritually fired---by Satan, the prince of the power of the air, who has since the beginning of time trained his destructive powers against all mankind. 

Twinkly lights may add some glitter to our homes during Christmas. But the greater light has come upon us! If you have the Light of lights, what more can you ask for?

Kung naging mababaw ang mga Pasko mo (If your Christmases have always been shallow), you need to ask Jesus to shine His light on you. It takes a very simple, but humble and heartfelt prayer of repentance:

"Jesus, I need you to be my Savior and Lord. Forgive me for my sins. Wash me and make me clean. Come into my heart. Be my Prince of Peace, my Healer, my Provider and wonderful Counselor. I take refuge in you even as I go through tribulations. Cover me with your grace. Save me! In Your name I pray."

Tragedy or no tragedy, you are secure no matter the situation. For Jesus guards your heart with peace and promises never to leave or forsake you.  

(Photo credits: 1. 2.  3. 4.

Friday, December 21, 2012


Are you a classifier? I bet you, you are. We all are! 

That's what makes you and I unique versus all of creation. Man can think orderly thoughts, label them a certain way and somehow stash them in "boxes" in a forever-expanding warehouse of memories---with thought retrieval accomplished in a flash.

We classify day from night, rain from shine, sowing versus harvest, left and right.

Kaya, hiwalay kung hiwalay... ang labada. (So we separate the whites from colored laundry.) 

In my primary school days eons ago, teachers assigned their "A" students in row one, with the least thinkers in fourth row. A classmate somehow lisp-pronounced the latter as poor-row, so the label stuck with him and fourth row seaters.

Economists refer to A, B, C, D classes depending on their earning capacity and ability to amass things like houses and cars.

Then we've somehow also gotten used to referring to people as either black , white, red, brown or yellow---spawning color denominated disputes in many countries. Apartheid, prejudice, bigotry, discrimination. We thought these were things of the past, yet color coding crimes still persist. 

In some countries, men are so biased against women that brothers would go to the extent of murdering or mutilating their sisters who stray from their expected roles as docile weaklings.

Which leads one to thinking--- is God a respecter of color, creed or gender as man so qualifies? Does He place us in boxes, playing us against each other for His approval? Is he awed by your to-die-for riches, your poverty or even your direst need? 

Is he mesmerized by your tantalizing voice every time you worship Him?

I got a stinging rebuke one Sunday. The worship leader didn't lead well. The singers sang so-so. So from worship, I lapsed into complaint mode. But the Holy Spirit wouldn't let that pass. This senior Christian needed a whack somehow. And I got it, hook line and sinker:

"I don't care if anyone is off key. I look at the heart, nothing more. 

"I'm no respecter of persons or their religion or race. I will not be moved by color of skin or narrowness of one's nose or thickness of one's lips. 

"Nor will I concern myself with what's in your bank account or whether you studied in Harvard or Juan Luna Elementary School. 

"I won't even be impressed by your good works, although I would love for everyone to do good works. But I'm after your faith alone, which if genuine, births honest-to-goodness good works---and my wanting to be involved in your life."
"Without faith, it is impossible to please God," reminds Hebrew 11:6.

Here's the clincher: Mark 12:33--- "To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."

God is concerned with our heart alone! One look at it and He knows how judgmental, proud, lofty, or humble, gracious, forgiving we are. That's why Proverbs 4:23 cautions us to guard our heart, "for it is the wellspring of life."

Oh boy, I need to stick to classifying coloreds from whites---I mean clothes na lang!

Saturday, December 8, 2012


Faucher Family Christmas Lights Extravaganza

It's that feel-good time of year again: The sights and sounds of a great festival hanging in the air. 

"Merry X-Mas!" "Season's Greetings!" Major avenues lined up with blinking lights shaped into bells, candies,stars, pointy trees, deers, teddy bears, Santa Clauses or whatever.

In most malls, Michael Jackson relentlessly reminds shoppers, "I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus,"or Bing Crosby transports us State-side as he croons "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" in an endless loop.  Children fall in line for a photo-op with the bearded jolly old man---that's Santa Claus whose image dominates most department stores' shop-windows.

And for many, it's one shopaholic event after another. Thirteenth and 14th month pays, bye-bye! Delicious "sale" signs remind us to flash the card---utang muna para walang cash out (credit instead of cash).

But while we all get excited---our malls jam-packed with harried people crescendoeing their holiday shopping sprees--- have we bothered to ask ourselves, "What's all the fuss and spending about?"

Call me corny or a killjoy, but I think the material girl (or person) in us has taken us for one big fake joyride.

If Christmas is Christ's big day, how come we're being told, "Greet people, 'Happy Holidays,' instead because to greet them 'Merry Christmas' is not politically correct." 

Companies today are careful to print their Christmas cards without the "Christ" because they've been told, "it is offensive to people from different cultures."

Whose celebration is it anyway? If Christ is the reason for Christmas, let it be "Christmas" instead of "X-Mas,"  "Jesus" instead of "Santa."

And let's not be carried away by the trimmings and glossies some have added on through the years---the obligated gift giving, the pigging-out, the rowdy parties with their rowdy dances (am sure Oppa Gangnam Style will be a big hit this year) and non-stop drinking.  

What's the real Christmas? Christ is the celebrant. Still is! It is about God's grace given to us that first Christmas day. 

Picture the original scene: One dark dreary night, shepherds woke up to see an angel before them, and they were terrified. But the glory of the Lord shone around them. The angel said, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord." (Luke 2:9-11)

The Messiah. The Savior. Great joy. Not fear or worry or lack. That's the GREAT news. And the reason for the celebration. Jesus came not only to save us from our sins but to give us eternal life; that, too, we may live abundantly! 

Without Jesus, we are dead to sin and separated forever from God. But because of Jesus, our relationship with God has been restored, along with all the blessings he has prepared for us from the beginning of time.

Could any trimming top that? Or could any attempt to muzzle the name of Christ prevent us from worshiping Him anyway, and in His way, especially during His birthday?

But it's not just about replacing the "X" with "Christ." If you truly believe in what Christ has done for you on the cross, then let's make Christ real to ourselves and our loved ones. 

"Christmas" is not a feel-good, do-good, shop-much, party-to-death season. (Do you know that this is also the time of year when a lot of people feel alone, and therefore commit suicide?)

Christmas is about acknowledging that apart from Jesus, we cannot save ourselves. So accept this gift if you haven't done so yet. 

Sincerely pray, "Jesus, thank you for coming that first Christmas day. I believe you are the Messiah, my Savior. Forgive me for my sins. Cleanse me. Come into my heart. Breathe your Holy Spirit in me that I may live free from sin. Cover me with your amazing grace. In your name I pray."

"For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16)