Sunday, September 22, 2013


11133570_s“Nabuntis ang anak ko, kaya ako umuwi”  (My daughter got pregnant so I came home), says Z, a just-returned OFW as we struck a conversation while she waited for her sundo at the NAIA airport. 

Z must have been building up her rage for a confrontation with her daughter. She needed to vent.  “Marami  nga kaming pera, nagkaganyan naman ang anak ko. Nagpapaka-alipin ka sa ibang bansa, wasak naman ang pamilya mo." (We have lots of money, but look at what happened to my daughter. Here I am slaving myself in another country but my family life is shattered.) Z worked as a domestic helper for a family in Saudi Arabia.

While many Filipinos have found gainful employment and improved their standards of living because of a father or mother working abroad, we’ve also heard of its tragic outcomes: 

  • Husbands or wives getting involved with third parties, motivated mainly by loneliness and the need to belong in a place they could not call home. 
  • Children getting exposed to negative influences like drugs and sexual promiscuity, mainly because of the lack of parental guidance . 
  • And not to forget, the sad stories of OFWs being maltreated, molested, denied their basic human rights, and even sent to prison or punished with death—all out of desperation or to defend themselves from ruthless masters. 

Still, the exodus goes on! 

Social scientists would be in a better situation to assess the long term impact of the OFW phenomen on our society. Suffice it to say that dysfunctional upbringing breeds dysfunctional lives. What price will families and our society pay for all these misalignments? 

God has given us His Word to direct our decisions.

Note what He says of couples: “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). A married person’s place is with his/her partner!  To be separated for a long time is a recipe for disaster. 

“Husbands, love your wives and do not be embittered against them” (Colossians 3:19). How could love be demonstrated and  a relationship built when two people are apart? 

Mas mabuti pang wala siya dito” (It's better if my husband is not here), kids a wife whose husband works in the Middle East. “Walang diskusyon! Magpadala na lang sya ng pera! (No discussions! Just as long as he sends money!) Everybody happy.” 

A relationship founded on money alone will inevitably crash and burn.

Too, parents are expected to stick around to train their children; and children are instructed to obey their parents.  Moreover, fathers should not exasperate their children, or they will lose heart (Colossians 3:20-21). This seems an impossibility in long distance parenting. 

How many kids have become disappointed because their parents or any of them have not been around for their birthday or their graduation, or during times they needed counsel or encouragement or a hug or support for a school project?  

Z lamented, “Wala ako nang magkaroon ng period ang anak ko. Ngayon, uuwi ako na buntis sya. Napakasakit isipin na noong kailangan ng anak ko ang payo ko, hindi ko ito nagawa." (I was not there when my daughter had her period. Now, I come home and she's pregnant. It's painful to realize that when my daughter needed advice, I wasn't able to do it.) 

It is sad that Z could no longer turn back the time.

Yes, her daughter enjoyed the perks of having an OFW for a mother. She’s studying in a private school. Their house is stuffed with appliances and modern gadgets.  She even has an IPhone. But at what price?

Let me quote from my book, Grandparenting: Happiness and Hard Work:

“’The brain drain has caused the disintegration of the Filipino family,’ contend those who want to stem the exodus of OFWs. But say others, "who can blame them, given the choice between unemployment and gutter-level incomes?” 

I urge you to pray and ask God for wisdom if you find yourself in this situation today. But more than anything, I pray that God will give you a revelation of who He is and how He could turn your situation around.

He created you and knows His purpose for you. He didn’t intend you to be the tail but the head. He meant you to be on top, not the bottom. He is your provider. He is the God who is more than enough. You are more than a conqueror in Christ. If you align your desire with Jesus and His will for you, He will bless you and your loved ones, wherever you are planted.   

Originally published at:

Sunday, September 15, 2013


"Kae Davantes is missing :( . Let's pray she is well!" Carla, my former student, texts me Saturday evening.

I wake up Sunday to Facebook posts saying Kae is dead. "Her body has been found."

"Justice for Kae Davantes" black ribbons start flooding Facebook. That was when reality hit. 

You must have read the news: "Young woman's body—strangled, with multiple stab wounds—found in Silang, Cavite." 

I found myself grieving for Kae. She was one of my most intelligent and creative students. Kind, humble and sweet, she was nonetheless competitive. She belonged to a batch which valued reading and came to exams armed with memorized but carefully analyzed texts.  

But I grieve even more because of the senselessness of her death—budding greatness so easily snuffed out. I grieve because around us are evil people with nothing but evil intent. 

They force us to cower in fear. They force us to avoid going out so that we'd prefer being in the dark. They force us into panic mode every time we see one suspiciously attired. 

And yes, they force us parents to fear for the safety of our children. That's why we endlessly remind them: 

Be careful. Do not talk to strangers. Always call or text to let us know where you are. Don't stay out late. Pray. Ask God's angels to protect you.

Yet, evil still has its way! 

God, what happened to Kae—or for that matter many young lives being shamelessly and brutally taken for whatever reason—is so hard to understand! Why so much evil in the world?

Who else could we turn to except the one who created us. He reminds us through the psalmist (Psalm 73:16-18): 

"When I pondered to understand this, it was troublesome in my sight. Until I came into the sanctuary of God; then I perceived their end. Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction.…" 

I'm no longer afraid for Kae because I believe in my heart she is in the presence of Jesus whom she acknowledged as her Lord and Savior; and He will take the perpetrators to account.

What the enemy meant for evil, what the enemy tried to steal—all these are nothing compared to the glory Kae is now experiencing in the presence of Jesus.

But God doesn't want us unaware. We are in the last of the last days and of this, he warned (2 Timothy 3:1-5): 

"But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

"They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth."

He reminds us too (1Thessalonians 5): "REJOICE always, PRAY continually, GIVE THANKS in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Whatever the enemy wanted to steal from Kae could never ever be stolen. She is now in a plaçe of complete safety, free from fear or pain or threats—in the arms of the who died to give her eternal life. 

Originally published as "Grieving" at:

Sunday, September 8, 2013


The Anatomy of Greed“Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Luke 12:15)

Are you a member of the Gimme Gimme Club? 

It's been reported that Club attendance has tapered since the recent pork barrel scandals. Members have now become careful show-offs, even controlling the urge to upload their party and bling images on Façebook. 

Having experienced a burst of conscience—something they've not used for some time, they've now moderated their public display of opulence. Baka madamay, kahiya-hiya naman! They too might be shamed if they're too obvious. 

Seriously, how does the gimme gimme lifestyle take root? 

My Marketing class students dissect how a simple need—like food, security and safety—turns to wants, then demands. The higher a person rises because of either power or gold amassed, the more insatiable his desire to possess grander blings, jets and mansions included.

That's human nature. Feed need unnecesarily; greed grows exponentially. Greed is need with a great ego.

So it's best to nip greed in the bud. "Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5)

Jesus says in Mark 10:23, "How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!"

Why these stern words? Because possessions boost your self-importance which in itself is idolaltry! ?t doesn't take long to totally shun your Provider when your unlimited lust for blings and influence has set shop in your heart.

Pretty soon, you believe Satan's slogan that the more you have, the happier and more esteemed you'll be—even by the rich, famous and influential. 

It helps of course that mass media and advertisers have conspired to condition us to aspire for the jet-setters' lifestyle. Our local papers glorify this so-called partyphile crowd in their pages. 

And being gorged up with riches is intoxicating, even addicting. The more you have, the more power you possess—the better for you to dispense and demand favor, and practically buy people, even manipulate them to suit your agenda.

The rich young ruler (Matthew 19) struggled to follow Jesus even if he wanted to. When His disciples asked, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus assured, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Had this young man remained with our Lord, he could have discovered that Jesus was all he needed. Jesus is enough to fill even our greatest desires. Trusting Him is just the beginning.

"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?" (Matthew 6:25)

Proverbs 15:16: "Better is a little fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it."

Jesus offers the better deal—real riches. "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10)

Money? That's just a fraction of the Jesus Believers' benefits. Now ask Him what more and how. 

Originally published at:

Sunday, September 1, 2013


Indignation NationThen you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:7 NLT)

Overheard recently...

Michael:            The enemy's strategy seems to be working!

Gabriel:             Yes, complaining has reached record levels.

Michael:            And the more fever pitch the complaining, the 
more they're cursing too.

Gabriel:             And the lesser they pray.

Michael:            No wonder heaven's prayer, praise and worship logbook looks anemic.

Well, that's my imagination gone wild about what the angels may be saying about us.

The pork barrel scandals have surely angered most of us. Napoles, some lawmakers, et al messed with our hard earned tax money. The corrupt and the corruptors must answer for their transgressions!

And public outcry has surely pressured our government leaders to urgently address the matter. The Philippines is OUR country and we need to ensure that our resources—even our tax money—are used wisely for the common good.  

Jesus Himself expressed raged when He confronted those who were making money out of objects supposedly for temple sacrifice. 

But faced with crises, the Lord always left the multitude, sought a solitary place, and prayed. 

In the garden, prior to His crucifixion, he prayed, then told Peter, "Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation..." (Matthew 26: 41).

Jesus prayed alone on the mountain when the disciples faced the stormy sea,  (Matthew 14:22-33)—this after He made the disciples get into the boat to get to the other side, and after He dismissed the crowd. 

Enraged becuse of all these abuses? Who would not? But let the anger subside. Be objective. Know the facts. Discuss the matter intelligently. Write your petitions and be involved if you must.

But do not allow the anger to grow to complaining, more complaining, and even  endless bickering and cursing—so much so that we join the bandwagon and the only prayer left within us is, "Oh my God!" 

Irreverently or carelessly said, that too is cursing and not pleasing in God's ears.

Reminder: The Israelites suffered 40 years in the desert because of their endless complaining.

But let the peace of God guard our hearts. Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. (Phil 4:7 NLT)

Peace within is possible because we know that God is in control and great and mighty to prevail. That's why we have confidence storming heaven' gates for justice and righteousness to prevail in our land. And even see miracles happen.

Christ is the answer! Our government officials must bow down to Him. Like all of us, they need a heart transplant—their hearts of stone replaced with hearts of flesh, able to know and listen to God, and do what is right as He commands.  

We definitely can't be bystanders. Light could not be hidden under a table. Our testimony must be demonstrated, even in the little things.

Don't bribe. Pay your employees their rightful salaries. Cross at the pedestrian lane. Stop at the red light. Line up. Walang palusot.  Huwag mang-isa sa kapwa. Avoid slander. Be courteous. Pray for our leaders. 

We can do all these because of His Spirit in us. The prayer of the faithful AVAILS MUCH.

Originally published at: