Monday, April 27, 2015

"How good is good enough?" asked Chris Hornbrook, lead Pastor of Momentum Christian Church (Chula Vista, San Diego).

To re-paraphrase his words: If there's a ladder of goodness, you'll probably put Mother Teresa in the ladder's topmost rung; murderers at the lowest part; and maybe most of us somewhere in the middle because we're probably so-so do-gooders and minor sinners.

When we compare ourselves with others, our tendency is to work harder to win God's approval, he said. So Pastor Hornbrook challenged us: Stop putting yourself on trial. Get off the ladder, and instead see yourself the way God sees you.

That's why the Gospel is GOOD news!

"We are more wicked than we ever dared believe." (Romans 3:23―for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.)

BUT! "We are more LOVED and ACCEPTED in Christ than we ever dared hope." (Romans 3:16 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.)

So quit running the I-am-more-good-than-him-or-her race. We're all in the same boat: Sinners all. Nothing you accomplish can make Him love you more. And even if you fail miserably, God's love-cum- forgiveness is continuously poised to grab you from total disaster.

It is because of His amazing grace through Christ Jesus who died for everyone, (1 Timothy 2:4-5) because God "desires that all men be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus…"

How then should we respond to this great love so graciously poured out through Christ? Accept Him as Lord and Savior; and obey Him!

In Luke 19:41-42, Jesus wept for Jerusalem and wished that people would understand the way to peace.

Peace with their Maker and themselves and their fellowmen. This is what everyone needs especially during times of trial, inadequacy, lack or when our long-held values are put to a test.

So if you've heard the gospel and committed your life to Jesus, shouldn't you all the more share Jesusthe only way to peace? He's the only change-maker, not our own effort to be good. Because once He gives our heart a make-over, the Holy Spirit starts molding our thoughts to enable us to obey.
Then we can freely obey Matthew 28:19-20: "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Then, they too will stop climbing the goodness ladder; but will instead be led by His Spirit to freely obey, not through their own efforts, but through His grace and His Spirit. 

Monday, April 20, 2015


Do you know of someone who tried and succeeded to end his life?
Teenage suicides have grown exponentially worldwidewith bullying, including cyber-bullying, as one of the major factors.

A website ( notes that suicide is the tenth leading cause of death for all ages in the US, with male deaths accounting for 79% of all suicides. The World Health Organization (WHO): Suicide is the third leading cause of death worldwide for those aged 15-44. 

Depression is cited as the main reason for committing suicide.

For most of us, these are just statistics. But what if your son or daughter or any of your loved ones has been added to the numbers?

It is agonizing enough to lose a family member to cancer or old age; what more if it's suicide? "I can't understand it. Why, God?" would probably hound a parent facing such situation.

It is even more agonizing if we imagine suicide's consequence. "Where would his soul go?" Because we know that suicide (along with other sins such as pride, stealing, lust, lying, etc.all of which the bible lumps as "sin," no major or minor), puts one in a state of rebellion against God; and a reason for eternal separation from Him.
Romans 3:23―"For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard." But let the rest of His Word help us make sense of it:

Proverbs 28:13 says that those who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.

The gospel offers hope. I believe in my heart that if one asks God for forgiveness, even through his final breath, Jesus will save himbecause it's all by His grace!

Ephesians 2:8-9―"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.…"

Remember the thief hung on another cross beside Jesus? Luke 23:42-43:

"Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom,” he asked Jesus.

Jesus answered, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

A last minute plea! Yet Jesus promised to save him. Jesus didn't ask questions, or imposed conditions. Seeing his repentant heart, He immediately reached out with grace.

The love of God! That's the reason Jesus willingly died on the crossthat while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:7-8). God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21). 

Because if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9)and ultimately save us from hell.

His grace is richenough to redeem us from sin through His blood! Ephesians 1:7.
Oh yes, it's like being saved through the skin of your teeth. But that is Jesus! Full of grace and mercy, willing to reach out to the very end.

A family mourned for a son who ended his life this way. He once professed Jesus as his Lord and Savior; but somehow made wrong choices. Loved ones never stopped praying.

I believe deep in my heart that their prayers have been answeredthat before this beloved son breathed his last, Jesus offered him one last chance with His amazing, unending grace.

"Grievous though my sin,
Jesus saves, Jesus saves!
A repentant, trusting heart,
that's all He asks of me."

Friday, April 10, 2015


What qualifies one to be a champion in any field?

Introducing Calista ReyesChloe to family and friends. This five-foot 15-year old freshman at Rancho Bernardo High is currently the toast of the San Diego (California) Filipino community and the US golfing community as well.

Based on her current golfing trajectory, the Junior Golf Scoreboard has ranked her 9th nationally (US) and 2nd for California's graduating class 2018.

Michael Bower, writing for Pomerado News, described her as "low-key, quiet and reserved—but inside she is booming with confidence… has relentless passion to win." Bower quotes Tim Steigerwald, the Broncos' head coach who's credited with 199 career victories in 12 years:

“You wouldn’t peg her as a top golfer in the county by looking at her. What most people don’t see is her consistency off the tee, her ability to keep the ball in play and out of trouble, and her short game. Some say golf, when played at a high level, is 90 per cent between the ears,” he added. “Her 90 per cent is better than most.”

Chloe was named the 2014 San Diego Junior Golf Association Player of the year (13/14 division). “Since I have been playing a lot of big tournaments against all of those girls (on Torrey Pines) and other top players, I feel like I play good under pressure,” she said.

Chloe is my niece Cheryl's only child; one of my sister Marcia's seven grandkids, all equally gifted in their own right.

I asked Chloe why she's such a winner. "I'm hard-working, confident and happy," she replied with a smilewithout a tinge of pride, just the voice of innocence, one at home with winning and excelling. Here's a 15 year old girl quite focused and determined, raised by parents Cheryl and Arnold who encouraged her to explore her gifts, while seeing to it that she leads a balanced teen-life.

Mom Cheryl: "… the reason she excels is because she has the passion for what she does, backed by her willingness and discipline to practice hard. She does not complain… loves to compete and her mind is set that she can do it."

Off-course and school, Chloe is a typical teenager who loves to sing, read, draw, watch movies and musicals and dabble with Instagram. During her grandparents' 50th recent wedding anniversary, she sang "Kahit Maputi na Ang Buhok Ko".  

I remember her as a bright-eyed four year old who genuinely loved to read books and regale us with her invented songs and stage presentations with her younger cousin Alee.

Faithfulness is second nature to Chloe who has maintained a 4.0 GPA in school. This, as well as her golfing feats, have courted the interest of universities which have invited her to their degree programs.

Matthew 25:21His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'

Our talents or possessions are gifts from God, to be used for His glorylesson we can learn from Chloe.

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