Monday, February 24, 2014


"H" is stressed rotten. Job-related? 
Partly, yes - because she is in Sales and meeting her periodic quota sometimes feels like hanging on for dear life while a storm, just like Yolanda, surges. 

But her stress decibel has lately been compounded by plastic.

You see, "H" has been happily flashing her just-acquired credit card - utang dito, utang doon - so in just a few months, she amassed debts which her katiting or puny salary could not pay off. 

How does a plastic tragedy start, especially for yuppies so eager to take on life and its rewards as soon as that first paycheck comes?

Let "H" tell you herself: "I was walking into a mall when this debonair-looking guy sidled up to me. But more than his good looks, I salivated at the prospect of having a credit card; so I immediately signed up; and voila, I was off shopping as soon as I received it." says, "Part of the allure of debt is the fact that you can get the emotional high from getting new things now, without having to deal with the pain of parting with the money now. It can feel like you're getting something for nothing."

A lot of yuppies get sucked into credit card debt simply because of naiveté. 

The prospect of acquiring - gadgets, fashionable clothes and blings, and more hanging out with barkada - becomes so strong especially when one gets a sense of independence and "world-here-I-come" rush once he gets a job. 

Little did "H" realize the fine print details would hang her head on her own guillotine.

"Pay only the minimum amount of ____," is the first thing you read on that credit card billing notice. 

"Yey, that's so easy!" your consumer mind rejoices. 

"I know I purchased ten times more than that," your memory insists. But you follow the "minimum" suggestion anyway because that looked just fine. 

So you shopped some more and paid the minimum, a vicious cycle which throws you into an even deeper well from which you could not climb - because your interests and penalties for late payments have mounted beyond belief and relief. 

What does the bible say about being in debt? Proverbs 22:7b says that the borrower is the slave of the lender.

Romans 13:7-8: Pay to all what is owed to them... revenue to whom revenue is owed... Owe no one anything..."

During these times when the fear of getting robbed is very real - that's why we don't carry much cash anymore - is it still practical to follow these biblical principles? 

God wants you to ask for wisdom especially today when more eye candies abound. His principles still apply - restraint, faithfulness with little, growing from glory to glory, not being too hasty to reach the top if you're not yet ready for it. 

A credit card is a convenient alternative to cash especially if you're disciplined enough to purchase within your earning capacity and won't compromise your future pay. If you buy something on installment, like a house or a car (Who buys these in cold cash nowadays?), make sure you can afford the monthly payments - otherwise, you face house foreclosure and eviction, or your car impounded. 

God promised in Deutoronomy 28 that He will bless you if you fully obey Him, "granting you abundant prosperity" wherever he plants you. Surely, being weighed down by debt is not part of that.
Another godly wisdom: Be content. Blings, designer bags, cruises, etc., are all good - momentarily making you happy; but these are nothing compared to the peace that passes all understanding in Jesus if you obey Him. He promised to bless you anyway. But there's a time for everything!

Someone today needs to make a decision to go under the knife. Plastic surgery may be painful but it may be your door to freedom from debt. 

(For more on financial stewardship, read "Going Up? Making Right Choices at Work," a book written by this author for yuppies.)  

Originally published at:

Monday, February 17, 2014


A beautiful swan perfectly at home in his pond. 

That's 17-year old Michael Christian Martinez - skating so gracefully yet passionately on ice to prequalify for a medal in the current 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. 

Dubbed as a charismatic performer, Martinez "ranks 30th in the world and fifth in the 2013 World Junior Championships in Milan, Italy," reported GMA News. 

At this writing, Olympic commentators say he's a shoo-in for any of the medals in the Games' freestyle event for men. (Note: He landed 17th place at the end of the competition.)  

How could that be? Michael is Filipino. Isn't the Winter Olympics the natural domain of those living in countries with frigid temperatures like Canada or the United States?

Michael perfectly demonstrates God's amazing power at work in those who trust Him. The Manila Bulletin quoted Michael's Facebook entry prior to his performance: "Please pray for me. My event starts tonight." 

"My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness," God assured the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:9. "Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."

Michael was an asthmatic child, per GMA News: "I literally grew up in the hospital... very sick. I couldn't take up any sport. I tried outdoor sports when I was younger, but I easily got asthma attacks, so I stopped," Michael recalled.

But he discovered the health benefits of skating. He didn't just learn the game however. He excelled in it, persevering through "training 15 hours during low seasons and 25 hours in high season."

Michael credits his mother for her support: "Better to spend the money on skating than in the hospital," GMA quoted her as saying. 

A famous actress once said, "The natural state of motherhood is unselfishness."

Don't these mothers' hearts reflect our heavenly Father's? 

Jesus is our Savior, Lord, Teacher and Encourager.  And He allows us to experience the good with the bad - to train and strengthen us. 

Michael's training must have been rigorous. You'd never guess the falls, bumps, injuries and frustrations he must have been through. 

But today, you watched him glide, bend, spin, triple axle and triple loop ever so smoothly on ice - the first Southeast Asian to compete in a setting totally alien to people in these parts. 

Paul says in Romans 5:3-5a: "... we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame..."  

The first Filipino miracle in Sochi has shown us how.

Originally published at:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Two disturbing images must have caught your eye in recent weeks: 

  • A young Hollywood heartthrob's mug shot after his arrest for drunk driving and a host of other charges.
  • Someone's black and blue and unrecognizable face - that of a popular local entertainer - mugged by crazed individuals supposedly avenging the "rape" of their lady friend.

Being popular, they certainly hogged airtime, not only on television news and tabloid programs, but more predominantly on social media. 

They're tsismis time fodder, making many working people's forays to the office pantry more animated. Tayo pa,  obsessed with celebrity and gossip. Quite entertaining, you see.

"Unlucky for them since they're always under the glare of klieg lights and hounded by the paparazzi," one might say. "Being high-profile people, they should have been more careful, choosing their friends, the things they do, and the places they go to, so they don't get embroiled in controversies."

I wonder if heaven has a gallery of our mug shots. Heaven sees what the paparazzi and those nosy TV reporters miss. Our photos may not have been splattered all over mass media and Facebook; but that doesn't mean we've been declared scot-free or holier-than-them. 

"All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God," Romans 3:23.

I used to think myself "good".  But come to think of it, how could I be good if pride, murder, lust, anger, envy, cheating and a lot of other imponderables percolate in my mind constantly - like hot tsokonut titillating my carnal-bound mind?  

Jesus (Matthew 5:28) says, "But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart."

Meeting her for the first time, Jesus told the Samaritan woman (John 4:18), "... you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband." 

But Jesus did not accuse her; offered her living water instead (v.13-14):  "... but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst... a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
Jesus is not accusing us either. Not yet -- while we're still here and have a chance to repent and acknowledge Jesus as our Lord and Savior before we cross over the great divide. We need not be declared guilty, with Jesus as our advocate. And the time to accept this offer of acquittal is now.

He came to save the lost. You and I are lost apart from Jesus. Romans 10:4 - Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes. 

"Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame," Romans 10:11  . The law accuses but Christ saves - our mug shot forever shredded from our heavenly dossier, and our folder stamped with, "Not guilty!" by the blood of the Lamb. 

"As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us,"  Psalm 103:12. Start with acknowledging Him as your Savior and Lord.

Originally published at: