Friday, December 26, 2014



"How are you feeling?" "Do you have a hard time breathing?"  "Does it feel itchy?"

Today is Christmas, the most wonderful day ever; yet instead of joyful greetings, what I get are questions about my state of health. Where am I?

Naturally, not in my usual family reunion where everyone arrives looking ready to party,  but in a hospital where my green jogging pants and red tee (Baduy ba? Hehe!) should do its job of cheering up the place. Trick didn't work, of course.  

I am in the emergency room (ER), for crying out loud. 

Overheard from my left side of the curtain divider:

Female voice: Ikaw na nga ang nakabangga, ikaw pa ang mayabang! Wala ka pang lisensya. (You were the one who hit them, yet you're so arrogant! And you didn't have your license!) 

Male voice: Wala din namang lisensya yung tricycle driver. Tsaka bakit doon tumawid yung bata? (The tricycle driver has no license too. And why did the kid cross the street?)

Female voice: Lasing ka! Ikaw pa ang mayabang! Antayin mo na lang ang demanda! (You were drunk! But you're so arrogant! Wait till they sue you!)

Christmas day live soap opera, courtesy of my co-ER guest, er... patient. You be the judge.

But back to why I 'm in the hospital.  Let's see if a few words can hack it: 

It seems my anti-uric meds dispensed a week ago wreaked havoc, painting my mala-porcelanang legs and thighs with matching pink skin rashes which turned kadiri-to-death-like even days after my doctor-nieces Franjo and Ruthie, and my internist—one of the few doctors available for consultation a day before Christmas eve—advised, "Stop using it altogether."  

Top that with leg, thigh and skull (not headache but skull-ache, parang nauntog) pain seesaw-ing between "oh-no!" and "oh-no-no-no!" I had days when crutches were my only means to move around.

Hospital confinement seemed the only choice when I woke up Christmas day with oh-no-no-no-no-no leg and thigh and head pain, plus a swollen right eye. OMG, this was gonna be worse than a bad hair day. 

(And I thought pneumonia was my bigger problem. That proved to be a mere "oh!")

But His grace intervened: 

Got checked into a nice comfortable room with just the right amenities.

My doctor visited. Yes, even on Christmas day, and the next. Really kind soul! His prescribed meds and the IV drip of course worked! But he advised to consult with a rheumatologist to rule out any vascular issues. 

Nurses and hospital staff came round the clock—even those who cleaned the room. 

Had a long chat with Butch (one of the attending senior nurses) about faith and having a personal relationship with Jesus. He was happy to receive my book, "Now That You're Boss." 

Got a little acquainted with Nazareth, a 24-year old nurse whom I gifted with "Going Up?" Am praying the Author of Life Himself will speak to her and Butch.

Karen, my OMF editor-partner-in-faith, called to assure me she was praying; and drop a bit of allelujia news from Vancouver, Canada—that  the "Boss" book is being serialized for bible study for its intended demographic in a local church. 

And of course, the prayers and well wishes of my loving family (our kids communicated and prayed relentlessly) other loved ones especially Papoose, Mita and Dan, my bosom-and-coffee-buddy Grace, friends, bible study brothers and sisters, and Pastor Robert—all of these rose to heaven, a sweet smelling aroma, which offered in faith, availed much.

Jack and Gigi, what would I do without you? Praising God always for you! 

I sure had a lot of "Oh-nos!" But the "Oh-yeah-yeahs!" prevailed.  Surely, no fear in Jesus; because His answer is always Yes and Amen! 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas is for children. That's what they always say.

So true. If you're 60 or 16, and you believe in Christmas, then you're a kid. So you can enjoy with the rest of Christ-believers that He indeed came that first Christmas day.  Welcome to His party!

Because how can you believe this story of someone coming from heaven to save you? How can you even buy into a tale that this Son of God became man, was conceived by a virgin and then willingly let Himself be crucified in exchange for your salvation? 

What kind of mind would even think this nonsense? Children! Or as Jesus says, those whose hearts are like kids'. 

So with child-like faith, are you and I foolish for believing in Jesus? Because that's what we adults say sometimes of kids—that they're foolish and they need to grow up. The rest of humanity too believes that Jesus' coming is a fairy tale. 

But this I know, and that's why with childlike faith, I've believed:

It just made sense one day—That God loved me. That He sent Jesus as the expression of His love. That I needed to accept Him as my Savior and Lord. Then, something within me changed. 

He promised that! 

He said (Ezekiel 36:26) that He will change our hearts of stone with hearts of flesh—sensitive to His heart and His instructions. 

He replaced my bitter and unforgiving heart with one now able to love others and experience His peace that's beyond all logic. I can now sleep at night without worry or fear—as He has promised. No amount of MBAs or PhD's—or money or fame or power—could grant you that. 

Where I used to stew with rage, anger, envy and malice, I do now experience love, compassion and kindness for others.

Do I get tempted when those around me are irritating, irresponsible and inconsiderate? Definitely! Hello, we're still on planet earth and subject to all temptations. You can believe too that satan (I won't even give him the benefit of being treated as as a proper noun.) and his mean spirits are continuously sowing fear, intrigue and destruction all around us.

But Jesus' mind in me enables me not to lose my poise, be sarcastic, or retaliate. I just know that! Pre-Jesus, I'd fight you with venom or at least wish, "Madapa ka sana!" "May araw ka rin!" when someone offends me.
Because He promised: I can walk His walk, demonstrating His fruit (Gal 5:22-23)—which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. That's if we allow the Holy Spirit to control us. 

Note that the bible talks about this fruit in singular form—nine traits in one fruit. I checked a grapefruit recently and found nine individual parts. Just what Jesus intends for our character to manifest. A good fruit!

God has never been late or slow or changed His mind about any of His promises. All of these are given, not hidden, in the bible; that those with child-like faith may believe. 

Believers' changed lives should testify that we have not believed in a lie or a nonsense. Jesus came to save us and give us life abundant. 

Surely, we can't comprehend God with our intellect or our erudition. Be a child first. Then you can believe in Jesus. Christmas is about no one else but Him. 

Then you can mean it when you say, "Merry Christmas!"

Tuesday, December 2, 2014


I listened in awe and expectation as Rev shared the Word of God last Sunday.

Rev's wife and our niece Bambi informed us earlier that Rev would be preaching at Victory (The Fort) last Sunday and we asked to be invited. 

He was to pinch-hit for another preacher on the last of the "Big Deal" series.  And what great reminder! 

What's "big deal" to you, he asks. "Money? Power? S-e-x (had to spell that out because there were kids in the audience)?"

Come to think of it, many would claim God and family, in that order, as their priorities; yet they hardly pray or read the bible, or play with their children, or speak with their wives (or husbands). 

Know God. Remember God. Love God. Obey God. This is the big deal. 

Deutoronomy 30:15&16—"See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction. For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess."

The offshoot is obvious—an abundant life of ever increasing blessings no matter where you are in the world, be it in your country of origin or in another land where He plants you. 

"God's heart is for the next generation," says Rev. "The children of the righteous shall never beg for food."

That's why we need to teach God's Word to our children. Deutoronomy 6:6&7—These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

It starts with loving Him with all of our heart and soul and strength (Deut 6:5).

And it's all about choice. Joshua 24:15—"... choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve... But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

My life, and all my days, start and end with God. How can I choose otherwise if in the process I reap misery; worse, be eternally separated from Him? 

Lord Jesus, enable me to decide today, "You are my Big Deal."