Wednesday, December 30, 2015

They don't compose music like they used to, from my point of view at least. Honestly, I get unnerved by most of today's songs, with some exceptions. 

Back in my day―when "traffic" meant making a few stops at intersections because the traffic light or policeman said "Stop!" (and which everyone obeyed)―we easily caught a song's lyrics and melody. (I sound really ancient, don't I?)

One group I particularly liked in the 70s (Now I'm really Jurassic!) was the Stylistics, with their endearing soul songs lovely-fied by its lead crooner Russell Thompkin's yummy falsettos. 

Recall (Now I'm talking to my co-senior-card flashers.) the chorus of "You Make Me Feel Brand New:"

"God bless you
You make me feel brand new
For God blessed me with you
You make me feel brand new
I sing this song 'cause you
Make me feel brand new"

It may have been composed for someone else, but doesn't that sound like a song for Jesus too? For who else could make you and I brand new, except for Jesus―our Creator―who came from heaven to save us? 

2 Cor 5:17―Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!

We'll say "Bye-bye!" to 2015 in just a few hours. Bye-bye to what? Maybe a baggage-full of regrets, frustrations, unforgiveness, bitterness. The details are too murky or complicated to even imagine. But He knows what we've struggled with or the life-bombers the devil has thrown our way. 

In Christ, we can confidently say "Adieu!" to the old and welcome the new―and not have the past festering us all over again! He's got new things in store.

Isaiah 43: 18-19―"Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert." 

Our Creator has all the power in the universe to flatten a mountain or calm the storm for us, but that's if we'll let Him! But He's given us the free will to do it our way or His way. Saying "Yes!" to Jesus means He will: 

"…give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart." (Ezekiel 36:26, NLT) 

Problems will still come, yes; but your new heart with its new understanding to deal with situations will make all the difference. Because even wisdom is God-breathed! 

Just like brand new! A new product coming out fresh from the factory gets to be stamped its manufacturer's brand and seal of guarantee.  

Is anything too hard for our Manufacturer?

O Lord, forgive me for having depended on myself and my possessions more than I trusted you. You are my Creator, who by your wisdom can teach me everything for a victorious life. I leave my 2015 baggage out and welcome now my newness in Christ. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


Lest we forget, the Jesus whom we celebrate at Christmastime is both our Creator and Savior. 

Before Jesus stepped into the picture---darkness!   

Pre-history, scene one, "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep" (Genesis 1:1-2). 

The Son of God, referred to in John's gospel as the Word---"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God"---did speak the universe  into being. 

"Through him all things were made" (John 13a).  

Scene two, long after man's separation from God because of sin, Jesus the Savior was born, and "people living in darkness have seen a great light," as prophesied by Isaiah,  
"on those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned." 

People may deny all they want, but truth be told, millions, maybe even billions of people today "live in the land of the shadow of death." 

Dysfunctional relationships. Sickness. Lawlessness. Rebellion. Financial lack. Pride. Greed. Arrogance. Religious persecution. We're all too familiar with stories of individuals, even hordes of people (think refugees from ISIS) stuck in mires they could not escape from. Some of us deal with issues which suck the life out of us---making our days joy-less, peace-less.

Jesus not only came to unshackle you. He also grants victory in spite of hopelessness. That's why this time around, He is Savior! But remember, He's your Creator too---who formed you in your mother's womb and knew you even before you were born (Psalm 139).

No one needs to remain in the dark or wallow in despair.  

Psalm 27:1?The Lord is my light and my salvation---whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life---of whom shall I be afraid?

So it would be a pity if we greet people, "Merry Christmas!" yet only enjoy its "merry" part---the 13th-month pay, parties and sumptuous handaan, and gifts galore. 

Christ is Christmas. For once, focus on the greatest gift that's been given, our biggest reason for rejoicing.  

Jesus, Savior! Haven't you received Him yet? 

Jesus, I admit, I could not tackle life on my own. I need you to light my way. Would you be my Savior? Forgive me. Speak life into me. Make me a brand new creation, in Your Name I pray. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

"Oh, the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful. And since we've got no place to go, let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!"

Don’t you just feel all Christmassy whenever you hear this 1946 Sammy Cahn and June Styne ditty? 

We’re  blessed to bask in our own tropical climate this side of the world, yet once in a while—and especially at Christmastime—we pine for the snow-capped pine trees and landscapes enjoyed by our New York or Toronto cousins. 

Brrrrr! Now, I’m shivering and want to don my fur coat and mittens. 

Why this fascination with snow? I love snow, but just from afar. Think uber migraine-inducing freezing temperatures  and painstaking snow-shoveling  tasks, and your mind will soon be Boracay-bound.

What seems more interesting about snow is the bible’s reference to it.  

Isaiah 1:18—“Though our sins be scarlet or red, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

Read with me a line from Grace Chong’s blog highlighting the significance of Jesus’ shedding His blood for us: “Unlike Herod who caused massive bloodshed among hordes of people, Jesus shed His own blood for all people of the world…”

The devil through Herod may have tried to kill Christmas but God’s purpose could not be stopped. On the third day after He willingly went to the cross and died, Jesus rose again. 

The Messiah—who became Immanuel, God with us—rose again, declaring and proving Himself to be the Truth, the Life, and the only Way through whom anyone can be reconciled with the Father. 

Blood turned snow-white.  What a sweet reminder of our heavenly Father’s unconditional love for mankind. 

That’s why I love Christmas.

Jesus, thank you for willingly going to the cross for me and your promise to take my sins away from me—“as far as the east is from the west”  (Psalm 103:12). What a comfort to know that I am forgiven and that I’m a new creation in Christ.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


It's Christmastime! Imagine with me for a moment when Mary's little baby---Jesus, the very reason we celebrate Christmas---was born more than two thousand years ago.

Surely, she must have marveled at how beautiful He was. But being a young mother, she too must have cringed at the thought of caring for someone so helpless---that her carefree young life would now be radically altered while she nursed this infant to adulthood.

But remember, Mary knew WHO this baby was: the promised Messiah! The angel told her so!

Picture Mary, heartbeat racing---better yet, heart bursting---even as she lovingly beheld her baby wrapped in swaddling clothes. She was in breathing distance with God Himself, her Lord and Savior!

Sharing with you what should officially become everyone's Christmas anthem, composed by Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene:


Mary did you know that your baby boy                                         Would some day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your baby boy
Would save our sons and daughters?

Did you know that your baby boy
Has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered                            
Will soon deliver you

Mary did you know that your baby boy 
Would give sight to a blind man? 
Mary did you know that your baby boy 
Would calm a storm with his hand?

Did you know that your baby boy
Has walked where angels trod?
And when you kiss your little baby
You have kissed the face of God

Oh Mary did you know?

The blind will see, the deaf will hear 
The dead will live again                                                        
The lame will leap, the dumb will speak                     
The praises of the lamb

Mary did you know that your baby boy       
Is Lord of all creation?                                                   
Mary did you know that your baby boy               
Would one day rule the nations?                                                                                                                              
Did you know that your baby boy                              
Is heaven's perfect Lamb? 
This sleeping child you're holding

Is the great I AM!

Prayer: Thank you Jesus for saving me from sin and reconciling me with the Father. I'm sorry that I've taken Christmas quite lightly. Help me to meditate on its significance. I offer you my heart and my life in return, as a pleasing sacrifice to you my Savior. Thank you for adopting me as your child. In your name I pray.