Tuesday, September 29, 2015


Have you ever slammed the door on anyone's face? Or has anyone slammed the door on you?

That must have hurtlike a slap on the facegiving you enough ammunition to rage or hit back, even curse. 
Pastor Robert Solijon recently revisited with us the story of the prodigal sonone of the most touching parables taught by Jesus (Luke 15:11-31)a classic case of "door-slamming" especially when the son demanded, "Give me my share of the estate."
Had I been in this father's shoe, my knee-jerk reaction would have been, "The nerve, you ingrate!" And would have left him in the coldtill he repents. Di ba?

Because that's just like being told, "I don't want to have anything to do with you anymore. Give me what's due me." In other words, "You're dead!" And that's painful.

Overly dramatic me would probably respond with, "You might as well have stabbed my heart."

A son or daughter turning his or her back is probably the saddest day in a parent's life. But come to think of it, we've all been guilty of slamming and shutting that door on our loved oneswithout us realizing itwhether you're mom or dad or son or daughter.

Hurting words. Insensitivity to their feelings. Selfishness. Shaming them in front of others. Physical abuse. All these are door-slammers and alienators, causing someone to be defensive, unresponsive, uncaring and resentfula recipe for a broken relationship or dysfunction in the family.    

The father in this story, however, never ceased loving. He kept the door of his houseand heart open. He kept on hoping. He waited and waited, till the son returned.

Without question, and even before his ingrate of a son (who smelled like a pig) could utter, "I'm sorry," the father rushed headlong to embrace him, gave him a robe, a ring and slipperseven threw him a shindig. How's that for forgiveness and "as-if-you've-never-strayed" attitude?

No amount of disrespect or rebellion could breach a father-son relationship. That's probably the attitude Jesus wants us to have for our loved ones. And instead of selfishness, we could do with a little more kindness, patience, meekness, love, and loads of grace to keep anyone from shutting us off. 

The prodigal son was ready to ask for forgiveness. His father knew. Our heavenly Father knows tooif and when our hearts crumble.

Jesus demonstrated that while we were yet sinners, He died for our sins, bringing us back to as-if-you've never-been-away-status with Father God.

He did say (Hebrews 8:12), "For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more."

Father, I've pretty much slammed the door on you many times in my life. Forgive me. I'm sorry too for the way I've unkindly and shabbily treated my loved ones and others. I humble myself before you. Enable me to listen and obey your Word. In Jesus name, amen.     

Monday, September 21, 2015


Ever tried arguing with yourself?

For example: you want to learn to paint. Though you hadn't held a brush or touched a canvas previously, a part of you says, "I would love to do it. I know I'll be good at it. "  

Yet a more persistent voice tweets, "I'll simply be inept at it. Why would I even dare?"  And you banish your original thought into your brain's trashbin of broken dreams.

Pastor Paul Chase's (Alabang Newlife Christian Center) recent wake-up call: "Stop making decisions based on your old self. If you've committed your heart and life to Jesus, start thinking in terms of who you are in Him."

Even if you had believed otherwise, God declares: 

• You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. (Philippians 4:13)

• You are a new creation in Christ. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

• You are more than a conqueror. (Romans 8:37)

• His grace is sufficient for you and His power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Pastor Paul suggests: Delete your buts―and its other esoteric versions such as "nevertheless," "however," "nonetheless!"

No more excuses! Christ paid dearly for you. If God says you can do it, then you really could! How?

2 Corinthians 10:5: We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought  to make it obedient to Christ.

Didn't He bundle His gift of eternal life with all the enabling traits to make you walk godly, productive, victorious? Didn't He too declare that you can do as He did, even greater?

"Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these…" (John 14:12)

Yet, this big bully of a word BUTbutts in, whispering:

"But I'm not talented."

"But I might just waste my time on something I'm never good enough at."

"But no one might appreciate my work."

Pastor Paul reminds, "… put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator" (Colossians 3:10); reject thoughts which magnify your old self versus your new state in Christ.  

He explained further: Our self-image happened slowly. These thoughts were piled through time, setting and molding us in our own little boxes which have become our comfortor discomfortzone.

Come to think of it, someone told me a long time ago: "I wasn't good enough," so I grew up believing I would not amount to somethinguntil Jesus set me free from that box and gave me wings to fly.

David, declared by God to be after His heart, never settled for the labels stamped on him by others.

He was a mere shepherd boy and not even part of King Saul's army when he volunteered to face Goliathat whose taunts, the whole Israeli army trembled. 

His brother Eliab accused David of conceit  for even wanting to do the job. King Saul doubted David. He allowed David anyway because he didn't have much choice. Goliath ridiculed him.

1 Samuel 17: 45: David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied." 

With one stone from his sling, David struck Goliath dead.

God's favor surrounded David. But he stood by God's Word and it made a world of difference.

God has your back too, if indeed Jesus is your Lord and Savioryour  key to having the mind of Christ.

Jesus, I commit my life to you. Be my Savior and my Lord. Teach me to think your thoughts. Crush every negative and vain imagination which used to dictate my decisions and actions in the past; and replace them with thoughts that conform to your Word.  

Sunday, September 6, 2015


File:Van Gogh - Starry Night - Google Art Project.jpg
One of my favorite painters is Vincent van Gogh, one the most admired impressionists of the 20th century.

"Starry Night," probably his most popular, has been reproduced and copied countless times by art students and artist-wanna-be's. The original is reportedly priced at more than $100 million.

I'm one of those wanna-be's—pretend artists actually, attempting to catch even a spark of his genius. Do I even come close? Closer maybe to being able to hold a paint brush properly; but nein—no! I'm just a great pretender.

My painting mentor, Ted Luna, was kind enough to have me know, "yes, it's good to copy the master"—so that, in the long run, I might develop a style completely my own.

Oh wow, how many canvasses, paints and brushes do I need to murder to qualify me as a "master?"

But that's what masterpieces are—copied, admired, hailed. And valued as priceless. Many of them have been stolen for the fortune to be gained for their sale.

God regards us too as His masterpiece.

Ephesians 2:10—"For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He planned for us long ago."

Psalm 139:14 says you and I have been fearfully and wonderfully made. We are wondrous creations, not even a Mona Lisa or Starry Night—or the most brilliant of man's inventions—can compete. 

Sin may have marred and scarred man's heart after the fall, but God's redemptive love makes us brand new in Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17—"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new."

God has breathed His Spirit into His "masterpiece"empowering us to do good—something we'd be powerless to do in our old sinful state, when we were full of ourselves and our pride.

That's why as Christ-believers, we can with conviction, confess that, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:13).

If we are God's masterpiece, I wonder how much value He has affixed on us?

Enough for Jesus to leave heaven's glory! The Son of God became the Son of man; then willingly shed His blood for us—a shameful death—so that those who would put their trust in Him would be saved.

That's worth more than the $100 million affixed on Van Gogh's. Worldly riches are soon gone but our inheritance is eternal. Glory to God!

O Lord, help me to see that you have saved me—made me your masterpiece—to glorify Your name by enabling me to do good works.