Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Here we are again, tracing our way to Calvary.

"Surely this man was the Son of God!" said the centurion who watched Jesus die on the cross (Mark 15:39), after a long dark day when Jesus was sentenced to death at the taunting of indignant religious leaders and the multitude.

Mocked, lashed, spat at, crowned with thorns, his tormentors made Him carry the cross. The final scene: "The King of the Jews" crucified, just like a common criminal. 

Surely He proved Himself God: Healed the woman who hemorrhaged for the most part of her life. Gave sight to blind Bartimaeus. Made the lame walk. Raised Lazarus from the dead. Calmed the storm. Enabled Peter to walk on water. Sent malevolent spirits scampering from a tormented soul into pigs and to their death.

The apostle John said that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written about all the things which Jesus did. 

Up to today, many turn to Him because He's proven to be the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). He assured, "Don't be afraid. Just have faith." (Mark5:36). 

"Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved---you and your household, " said the apostles in Acts 16:31. This salvation He gives for free. It is not earned, so no one would boast. 

It's all because of God's amazing grace.

So it is not a fad that people are turning their lives over to Jesus. The captives are set free. Lives are changed, for the better.

But it took the greatest sacrifice. The Son of God became man---the great exchange. His lashes and broken bones for our healing. His pain for our joy and peace. His blood for our sin. His death for our life---eternal life.

Unknowingly, we cheapen what Jesus has done for us. 

This holy week, especially in the Philippines, many will have themselves crucified to identify with Jesus and be cleansed from their guilt. Countless other don'ts-and-do-this-stuff will be accomplished by many as a way of imitating Jesus.

As if what He did on the cross is not enough to totally take care of our sins and weaknesses. All He needs from us is honest to goodness repentance, a turning away from sin; and acknowledge what He did on the cross. 

"It is finished," He reminds us.
The only sacrifice Jesus wants from us is this: To trust and obey His Word. To thank and praise Him. To worship Him not only with our lips but with our lives.

"...and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God." (Ephesians 5:2)

Everything is under the blood of Jesus.

"At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth." (Philippians 2:10). 

Name it! Cancer, heartache, addiction,  brokenness, insanity, loneliness, profanity, lack, famine, drought, pestilence. The whole of creation obey Him because He created them. 

Every name or object or situation and every created being that has been named, bow only to this One Name. That's why the devil tries so hard to distance us from that Name. 

We belittle Jesus in so many other ways. Insisting the lie to be truth, though Jesus taught us the truth. Some of these lies: That a woman can have her unborn baby aborted because she has the sole right to her body, or homosexuality is OK just because gays have gained political muscle. 

But we cannot bash gays and lesbians or anyone treading dangerous waters. All of us have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God---none exempt! 

We however speak against sin and the lies of Satan, and every word declaring wrong to be right. 

You cannot shake your fist at God and expect things to turn out right even as you reject Him. Going against your Creator's plan, and the purpose for which you've been created, has its consequences! 

Jesus offers to take us out of the rut. Without Him, it's a useless and tiring rowing against the current.

This week, let's ask ourselves: Do I REALLY believe in Jesus, or am I just going with the flow of what I've always done year in and year out? Is Jesus just a name in my mind? Does He even own my heart?

Jesus is Lord, or not at all. It's a choice we have to make at one point in our lives.

Choose Jesus, choose new; and with that, peace, joy, assurance of a full life. And the ability to resist temptation. He is the God who's more than enough. He came that we may have life abundant. 

Now may be the best time to commit your life to Him. Ask Him to be your Lord and Savior.

Pray: Jesus, forgive me. Thank you for dying on the cross to save me from my sins and give me eternal life. Come into my heart. I confess you today as my Savior and my Lord. Holy Spirit, have your way in me. In Jesus name.

Now, trust and obey! And worship Him with your life, everyday and not just at certain times of the year.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


I take my hats off to them.

Those who never tire of  studying or going to school. In the university where I teach, when someone says, "Doctor," almost everyone in the faculty room would turn to acknowledge the call. Except me and a few others. 

Of course, "me and a few others" always kidded that in case of a medical emergency, the presence of so many doctors will not even be able to save a life. 

And of course, we're probably just sour-graping---simple degree holders. But we 're cool, right? Secure as cucumber.

Seriously, I admire those who seem to never run out of fuel to gas up on new knowledge. That's perseverance personified. 

Imagine yourself in school the entire length of your fleeting young life. Instead of just watching movies or going to basketball games, you're in the library leafing through browning text, or mostly browsing through web upon web pages of e-books. 

Nursery to elementary, probably nine years. Four years of high school. Another four for a college degree, much longer for engineers, lawyers and doctors. 

And for many others today, add two more for MBA or another masteral pursuit. Then two more years of PhD, especially for those who want to make it big in the academe or other scientific endeavors. That's 20 years, more or less. 

Whew, that roughly translates to 19,200 hours of attending four-hour classes five times a week, assuming you also take summer classes; some 14,600 hours burning the midnight oil to cope with assignments and exams; close to 300 textbooks; and hundreds of thousands in tuition fees, uniforms, transportation and baon expenses. 

İt's a pity that while some would die to get an education and even study further, many young people---especially those born with the proverbial silver spoon in their mouths---take it for granted. 

Education is probably the most valuable inheritance parents can give their children. After all has been said and done, what's been planted in their minds and hearts become irreplaceable. 

Knowledge levels the playing field---for the haves to retain their mansions, and the have-nots to get out of their potholes and be in the same footing as the have-plenty. 

No matter your economic or family background, educational credentials help open doors to be employed, and even be promoted. 

İn our university, for example, you could not be "professor" (with corresponding higher remuneration) unless your resume specifies a master's or PhD. 

İ admire students with the patience to study some more even if they have already earned degrees. 

The bible however warns that too much learning tends to make us haughty. It can puff up our minds, says 1 Corinthians 8:1.

İ'm sure you know of someone who's been educated in the best universities abroad, held significant positions in business or in government, but whose life has been a total mess. 

Separated from wife. Children gone their own way and not wanting to have anything to do with Dad. Facing a graft rap for unexplained wealth and possessions. Sounds familiar? 

Well, this may be quite the extreme. But we do know that MBAs and PhDs, nor titles and certificates hung on the wall, don't define us. 

They're good door and opportunity openers. Because the real test of competence is how we use that knowledge to manage our situations. 

Wise is the man, who having obtained knowledge, uses it to teach and build up others. 

Sadly, some titled people seem to carry an air about them which tends to repel others. Worse, they carry it like a badge even in their homes, treating their wives and children like underlings. 

Titles like Reverend, Doctor, Boss, General. Highfalutin, huh.

If you're not careful, your title can wall you in, or fence people out. Whichever way, you feel alone in your ivory tower. 

To live well and enjoy God's abundant blessings, education and the endless pursuit of more learning and information, is not the key; but rather wisdom.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, says Proverbs 1:7.  One translation: The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. 

If knowledge and wisdom do come from Him, shouldn't we all the more seek Him than titles and badges?

Simply put, wisdom is the right application of knowledge. 

And real wisdom can happen only out of an intimate relationship with the One who made you into you. 

God knows your every part, your strengths and weaknesses; but He can mold and lead you if you ask Him for wisdom daily.

"Master in Business Administration" is desirable, but so is "Master in Being Alive" so that your every move comes out of a desire to make a difference, not be different; to teach and be teachable, not just acquire stock knowledge that puffs up; and to learn life skills, not just work skills. 

photo credits: www.aamu.edu, www.mscareergirl.com, www.rediff.com

Saturday, March 9, 2013


Not even in my wildest dreams did İ envision myself becoming a teacher. 

Yet here İ am, doing it, loving it, believing that whatever tiny grain of influence İ could plant--- for whatever time frame İ was allowed to do it--- would grow into something fruitful in my students' lives. 

My parents were teachers. İ remember drawing and coloring Nanay's bulletin board posters--- on godliness, cleanliness, faithfulness, patriotism and many more life lessons--- so her students would have new values to ponder each time they entered her classroom. 

Never did İ realize İ would be doing the same thing even as İ'd retired from corporate life. 

Tatay taught Physics in our town's public high school, but soon gave it up because teaching didn't pay much to feed, clothe and send eight kids to school. But Nanay persisted.

This year marks the tenth year of my teaching career. But İ regard teaching more as a calling than a career or a profession.

İt's a calling, a ministry if you will, because it involves a higher purpose. 

İ soon realized that whatever İ said and did made an impact in the lives of young pliable minds. 

So may İ share with you the lessons İ learned as a teacher. 

İ learned that teaching is a gift. To connect with students today--- gimmick and gizmo oriented, self absorbed and ultra individualistic, meaning differently-wired, and therefore hard to reach--- a teacher must pull all the stops to make sure her students get it. 

Sometimes, er, most of the time, the kids don't get it, but a teacher persists---even if one has to sing and dance, or pirouette, just to get them to get it. 

Whatever works--- games, workshops, industrial tours, having a guest speaker so they don't get tired of your face, letting them  bring a keyboard or a guitar so that they can compose a product jingle or do a TV commercial, letting them be the judge of a mock advertising congress--- İ've employed them all and then some. 

But İ've learned that the biggest tool a teacher can bring is her heart, not her brain. 

İt's a given. I must come prepared to teach and facilitate learning. 

As a Marketing or Advertising teacher, I must understand business and communication principles and demonstrate how they apply to actual cases, giving them a chance to use them in simple exercises. 

But I pretty soon realized my students needed more than just principles for career success, but life skills to overcome insecurity and low self esteem, survive a dysfunctional family life, be free from addiction, get past a recent family tragedy. That's why... 

İ've learned not to judge. On the surface, some students may look happy-go-lucky, uncaring, dense, impenetrable, duh-like, even irredeemable. 

But unless a teacher takes the extra effort to know them, a term would have passed without us making a REAL difference in their lives. But... 

İ've learned not to baby them and exercise tough love. A student must be confronted with the truth even if it hurts. If God disciplines us to make us see the point, so should a teacher.

I could not give a student an impression that he's doing OK even if he's not; and that he must shape up or else... 

Confront if I must, but to let them go scot-free and feeling hunky-dory would not be in keeping with the word "teacher". 

Because a teacher teaches! How could I say, "You're doing fine!" and grade you with high marks when I know you've been lazy, done your assignment just to comply, and yes, I see the evidence of it in the mediocre way it was written! 

Oh, if İ can just get it in their heads that life out there is tougher than school. 

That promotion comes if they are faithful with each small thing. 

That discipline--- like coming to class on time, complying with deadlines, doing an assignment like it were the last you'd ever do and must therefore execute with your best effort--- is a habit well honed for a lifetime of success. 

Every time İ go to school for my classes, İ pray that Jesus would grant me the grace to exercise love, compassion, wisdom, understanding, patience, even rebuke and discipline for anyone in need of any of these; and to pray for my students, because more than the world of knowledge and understanding that we can pass on to them, it is only God's enabling grace that will pull them through the toughest and challenging moments of their lives. 

John 13:13-16: You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. İ have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. İ tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.

Lastly, teaching has humbled me, taught me to realize that even as İ've topped 60 years on this earth, İ'm still clueless about many things and the more İ interact with young people, the more İ'm learning from them. 

İ'm privileged that even at my age, God enables me to enjoy a buffet of LOL and fulfilling moments with my students. 

To my students, thank you! 

Photo credits: www.englishpludz.com. dailygalaxy.com. questgarden.com. genskiescribble.blogspot.com. jesuit.org.sg

Friday, March 1, 2013


When was the last time you really laughed? 

I mean a grand laugh out loud (or LOL for short, for the benefit of readers not accustomed to social media lingo) moment when you didn't care if someone's thought bubble across the room read, "İs she crazy or what?" 

Old people, mostly, must rediscover laughter! (OK, count me in, though I refuse to be called "old" just because I've passed the half century mark or I flash a senior citizen card.) 

And I don't mean "smirk"! You may not have noticed it but we young once have this tendency to dismiss as silly others' attempts to be funny or cute or try hard to amuse others. 

So we smile this sly smile with "condescending," "oh, give me a break," or "you're so corny" written all over it. 

But that actually shows how petrified we've become, or how rigid and me-minded and self-absorbed we've turned into because, "Hey, I've been there, done that. I've heard it all, so don't try to impress me. I'm beyond impressing." 

Cranky is the word! 

We need to laugh. But there must be a reason to laugh, otherwise those around you will think you're cuckoo or something. 

So laugh even if the joke is corny or silly or shallow. It's for your own good. Ok lang maging mababawaw!

Doctors must prescribe laughter like they prescribe our maintenance pills or health supplements. It's one of life's freebies---might even save you from visiting your doctor often, or save you from illnesses requiring hospitalization. 

(Especially if you don't have health insurance. Horrors! Insurance companies in the Philippines don't insure you anymore when you've reached a certain age! Calling on our valiant lawmakers! There oughta be a law protecting seniors' rights to fade away from this earth in dignity, not in indebtedness as we grapple with sky-high hospitalization bills!) 

Care2.com suggests that laughter, based on many health experts' studies: 

 * Lowers blood pressure 
 * Increases vascular blood flow and oxygenation of blood 
 * Gives a workout to the diaphragm and abdominal, respiratory, facial, leg, and back muscles 
 * Reduces certain stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline 
 * Increases the response of tumor- and disease-killing cells such as Gamma-interferon and T-cells 
 * Defends against respiratory infections–--even reducing the frequency of colds, by immunoglobulon in saliva 
 * Increases memory and learning. In a study at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, humor during instruction led to increased test scores. 
 * Improves alertness, creativity, and memory

So come on, enlist in the LOL movement and scare the Count away: triglycerides, cholesterol, high blood pressure, blood sugar; and have your grandkids rejoicing that Lolo and Lola can afterall still walk with them in the park or visit Disneyland. 

Proverbs 15:13: A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit. 

Any takers for a LOL reality TV show? Let's brainstorm... will it be Dolphy and Panchito or Charlie Chaplain type? Slapstick? Brainy? 

As long as it catches melatonin-short Lolos and Lolas at four in the morning, that's fine by me!