Wednesday, December 21, 2016

IN DARKNESS NO MORE

Image credit: http://www.drodd.com/images11/
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(A reflection on the spirit of the seasonshared recently with my friends in the Christian Writers' Fellowship at OMF Literature. Edited for this blogsite.)


Isaiah 9:2 "The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned."

Have you experienced being in an unfamiliar dark room, where all you can do is grope? Where the only steps you could take are so tiny because big ones might make you stumble big-time? Then your ears become so acutely sensitive like a dog's; your hair bristles in fright; and your blood tsunamies to the point of cardiac arrest.  

Darkness withina life apart from Christis scarier! Way frightening!

When did Christ come to your own dark room? Were you just walking in darkness or were you in deep darkness?  

How is it to be in deep darkness? Ask me, I know!

When my life was just about me, myself and moi, bitterness, anger, resentment and unforgiveness were my daily grindon top of teeth grinding in my sleep. I spiralled into periods of despair and hopelessness (without anyone ever noticing because I was a great pretender). It was utter darkness, where the only way out seemed to be to escape it all.

But just in time, Jesus came, changed my life of angst and drama into one joyful and peaceful. Ah, pwede palang matulog nang mahimbing sa gabi! And my midnight snack could be about God's goodness instead of my fearsof death, sickness, failure, financial lackad nauseam!

And so this is Christmas! A simple but powerful and life-changing message (in Hillsong's "Here I Am to Worship" lyrics):

"Light of the world
You stepped down into darkness
Opened my eyes, let me see…
King of all days
Oh so highly exalted
Glorious in heaven above  
Humbly You came to the earth You created
All for love's sake became poor."

That's the reason Christian writers write. That's the reason we sing and live as Christ didfor blind eyes to sparkle again through the little lights that we've become.

"Let your light so shine before men that they may see our good works and glorify our Father in heaven," Matthew 5:16.

Lights flood homes and malls and a lot of public places every Christmastime. OK din naman yun, di ba, para makulay ang selebrasyon. Para hindi natin makalimutang mag-shop para sa inaanak o sa anak.

But the greater (and real) light must not be snuffed out by the insignificant kumukuti-kutitap lights around us. Jesus in us should so shine through our lives and our writings that people would crave what we have. "Iba ka, bakit ka ganyan? Ganyan ba talaga ang born against?"   

What is your story? The story of your ascent from pitch darkness to light? The earth will become darker, we all know that from prophecy. Statistics tell us that suicides are at their highest at Christmastimeand becoming higher especially among millennials.

This is our story: Isaiah 9:6, "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

That's why we write what we write, so that those who read our books would experience Christ every day of their lives, in their place of work, at home, and in spite of challenges.


Lord, may I not miss the real essence of Christmas. Help me to rise above the clutter of partying and materialism and indulge instead in your loveyour free gift of grace for all those who would confess Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Usher me into your kingdom of light, where peace and joy abound because of Him who reigns there, forever. 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

BIPOLAR FAITH

Image result for south pole
image credit: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com
It feels a lot like Christmas, doesn't it?

Well, it's not just about the increased foot traffic in malls, especially because many have already received their 13th month pay.

But the air is cooler, more pleasant and more conducive to wearing more layers of clothing. Rejoice my fashionista friends!

Our weathermen credit Arctic (North pole) winds for our cool breeze, which hopefully lingers.

How utterly different the Arctic and the Antarctic (South) poles are. The North Pole, it seems is kinder to humans (Remember Sarah Palin, the most popular Alaska resident?) with its minus 34 degree celsius temperature; versus the Antarctic's minus 49 degrees.

The South pole is simply uninhabitable, except by penguins, and humans who visit during summer for weather tracking.

Guess what, polar bears live only in the North, according to listverse.com, which reports that the lowest temperature ever recorded on earth was minus 89 degrees celsius, at the Vostok Base, near the geomagnetic South.                                                            

I wonder if "bipolar" has its roots from the North-South pole juxtaposition: the earth's opposite hemispheres looking seemingly similar (for their icy nature), yet very dissimilar.

Recent news have reported of popular bipolar personalities. 

The term describes someone with manic depressive tendencies characterized by serious and significant mood swings or alternating highs and lows, per John M. Grohol, Psy.D, psychcentral.com.

Would some of us be diagnosed as bipolar too in our faith-walk?

Our faith goes on high-mode when we read about God's promises; yet this same faith gets deflated, as if infected by dementia, when confronted by disappointments.

"Such a person is double-minded and unstable…" James 1:8. "When we ask, we must ask in faith, without doubting, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind." (James 1:6-7)

I've at many times been a bipolar Christian. When I was new in my faith, I learned to pray, and pray earnestly. Yet, when the answers came, I dismissed them as pure coincidence. Double-faced na, bipolar pa!

I recently prayed with a young couple for a house of their own. Could God be waiting for them to step out in faith (in spite of their parents' objections), since it is His perfect will for man and woman to cleave as one and be separate from their parents' household?

Jonah, perfect example of a bipolar believer: Called by God to preach repentance to the Ninevites, he instead ran away because, in his heart of hearts, he wanted Nineveh destroyed. Yet, Jonah was God's prophet!

Allowing our more carnal selves get the better of us that's when we become bipolar believers.

Only by His grace and His Holy Spirit can we obey. So we need to rely daily on Jesus for our strength.  That's why 1Peter 1:10 encourages us to "make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble."

Want to be rid of bipolar faith? Let the mind of Christ inhabit yours.


Monday, October 24, 2016

BATTLING THE KILLER Q'S

Quotients. You either love or hate them.

We idolize Einstein types for their superb intelligent quotient or IQ, and swoon over people with  exceptional emotional intelligence (EQ).

Admirable too if you've got these CQ's: change quotient (ability to manage change), or creative quotient for giftedness in the arts.
image credit: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com

Two CQ's though are better thrown in the trash bin.

Forgive me, Jesus, I've lately been afflicted with these CQ's. 

I thought they'd easily pass away like the common cold, but theycomplaint quotient and criticism quotient persisted.

I'm not sure exactly when  they started bugging me; but they must have encroached round about the recent presidential election. Facebook and television teemed with vitriol about which camp was lying or telling the truth. These viruses gained their foothold as I had FB for breakfast, watched network news, or chatted about them over coffee with like-minded friends.

This CQ infection has become a phenomenon. One FB friend termed it witchcraftbecause how could friends fight over something or someone they didn't even personally know?

Initially, I thought I could just be an observer, and just pray. But the bugs persisted, and my spiritual immune system snapped.

I had the best intention: share biblical insights about what's happeningbecause God's words can cause people to relent.

Hebrews 4:12  "For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart."

Afterall, troll-initiated lies and online bullying shouldn't be allowed to persist, right? That's what we should do as responsible citizens, right? And we should speak out as concerned and peace-loving people, right? 

Didn't God send Ezekiel  (34:1-8) to prophesy against the shepherds of Israel because they've "scattered the flock, and with force and severity dominated them?"

The problem though with engaging in word wars is: once in, you wouldn't know when to back out. Initially, you just want to share appropriate biblical truths to shed light on the country's situations, plus give your own little comment. I admit, some of my comments have been a bit tart. And those invited tart remarks too from others.

Tart for tart equals tartness (taray) glorified—not God.  The anatomy of word wars.  

We've seen relationships break as friends or family members defended or criticized our new president. This is unprecendented! Tama na!

So, I'm done criticizing, done complaining. Bugs eradicated.

I humbled myself before you and you gave me a firm place to stand. Thank you, Jesus!

Thanks to my husband and my friends who continue to remind me that everything is in God's hands. We needn't be afraid because He is still seated on the throne.

That doesn't mean though that I'll stop praying and sharing the Word. Jesus is the only hope of our nation. He promised: the government will be on His shoulder!

Thank you Lord for reminding us that whatever is happening in our country, could not be won through barbed words but through your Word and your Spiritbecause our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against spiritual powers and strongholds in the high places.  We bind these forces up, in Jesus' name! And lift up to You our president. That  he may acknowledge You as Savior and Lord; and obey you wholeheartedlyfor the glory of Your name. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

TRIBULATION CENTER

"The Scream" by Edvard Munch, 1893
Life sucks. Even my Pastor says so.

As a senior, I find myself staring at sickness more often. It's worse for those with cancer and other deadly diseases.

Treat people kindly; some fire back with venom.

We expect our new leader to inspire or at least be a role model; but what do we get? A buffet of curses every suppertime. Makes you wonder if the art of cursing, war-mongering and bullying should instead be taught in school in lieu of good manners and right conduct.

When you read about kids being abused or used by adults for their own ends, you drown in a sea of sadness, anger and guilt because you could not do much about it.

Jesus himself warned that life will never be a bed of roses. Earth is tribulation center! We're all in a problematic place. God has never hidden this truth from us:

Romans 5:12 "Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned…"

2 Cor. 4:4 "The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God."

That's why Jesus came that in spite of our disappointments and struggles, and in spite of Satan continuously harassing us, our lives can be productive and purpose-driven.  

John 16:33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

If He has overcome, so can we. If Jesus is our Lord and Savior, He will teach us to:

·   Continue doing good

Plant goodness and your barn will be stacked with everything good. That's His promise! Galatians 6:9 "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up."
·       
     Pray without ceasing, and in all circumstances

Especially for our loved ones even our enemies. Pray for your boss, for our president and other government leaders. God has given every believer the authority to pray, in Jesus' name, to bring down strongholds and demonic powers, especially in government and those who enslave others through any form of evil.  

Jesus changes lives. He even changes hearts no matter how deep they are in the pit of addiction, either to substances, lust, power or money.
·        
     Help those in need

"The poor you will always have with you," Jesus says, Matthew 26:11. We can't do anything for poor people in Timbuktu, can't we? unless of course you're Warren Buffet or Henry Sy  but you can give to those who ask for help, or donate to  organizations which organize help for those who lack or need aid because of disasters. 

Operation Blessing, World Vision, and Metro World Child are trustworthy NGOs which channel your kindness to children and communities.

·   Experience His peace which passes all understanding

Peace is elusive apart from Him who saves us from eternal death and gives us abundant life. Isaiah 9:6a prophesied of Jesus:  "… He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." No wonder I can sleep soundly at night despite everyday concerns.


This verse also promised, "… the government will be on his shoulders." 

No matter how perplexed we are about what's happening around us, take heart, Jesus has our back.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

LIGHT BEARER

(Sharing my testimony, published in the Philippine Campus for Christ website)
"I am the master of my destiny.” Or so I thought. Until Cyd.
Earlier in my career, a former colleague called me to rejoin her in the company we both served.
“I’m happy where I am now,” I told her — sure that I was beyond convincing. In our back-and-forth, she offered me a salary I could not resist; so I went back to this former employer — convinced that I was smokin’ hot.
Never did I realize that God was brewing His own recipe, not buttering my ego.
It was in this company where I met the former Cyd Latunio, a Corporate Planning analyst.
Our offices were neighbors, so Cyd and I managed to chat between work. To my surprise, I felt at ease around her, even if I was initially intimidated by her — she seemed really smart.
Yet there was something about her. Cyd was friendly and easily laughed at the slightest provocation. Yet she never told off-color jokes, nor spoke ill of others.
“I want whatever she has,” I thought. It felt good to be around her. In contrast, I complained a lot and easily found fault in others — that was low-self-esteemed-me masquerading as intolerant-high-and-mighty-me.
It did not take long for me to discover that Cyd was a believer, and with the Campus Crusade for Christ. The more she spoke about Jesus, the more I gravitated to her.
But it was not just her words. She demonstrated Jesus.
Cyd invited me one day to a balikbayan’s gospel concert in a hotel. I didn’t need convincing. At this point, she had me — hook, line and sinker.
Here I was plagued with insecurity, unforgiveness, resentment, bitterness and fear — one faced with tsunami-like issues; and I was drowning in them.
That night, a different sort of flood engulfed me: “God loves me, unconditionally!” I never knew that. “It’s by faith and grace, not works.” “Repent.” “Confess Jesus as your Savior and Lord.” Who could refuse that? I asked Jesus into my heart.
That night I slept like a baby, for the first time in many years. So this was what being born again meant.
Change? Too many to mention here. Miracles? Likewise. My story is not finished yet. All my days are in Jesus’ hands.
Cyd may may have gone to heaven ahead of us (She succumbed to kidney failure sometime after she married and bore her son.); but many of those she discipled still bear her light.


Thursday, September 8, 2016

WORD WAR JUAN (Pilipino)

"Salita! Salita! Salita! Araw-araw salita; mula sa kanya, ngayon sa 'yo! Yan lang ba ang magagawa nyong mga perwisyo?"

'Yan ang isina-tagalog na awit ni Eliza, ginanap ng paborito kong aktres na si Audrey Hepburn, sa Broadway movie musical na "My Fair Lady."

Ganyan din bang sick-and-tired na pakiramdam ang nadarama mo pag nagbubukas ka ng Facebook? Maaasim na salita na parang tsunami ang dating. Minsan gusto mo na lang i-X ang mga ganyang post para makapagkape ka nang mahinahon.

Pero bakit nga Juan versus Juan ang mga pananalita natin? Baha na ang internet ng  tone-toneladang pagmumura at salitang galit. Tuloy, marami nang nag-unfriend ng mga kaibigan nila sa Facebook. May mga tuluyan nang nagsarado ng FB accounts nila.

Hindi na ba talaga pwedeng mag-komento ang isang tao hinggil sa state of affairs ng bansa natin, o tungkol sa hindi magandang asal ng mga opisyal? Bakit aatakihin ka ng iba dahil dito? At bakit kailangang ipagtanggol ang isang masamang nagawa? 

Bakit kailangang sirain ang isang komento hinggil dito?
At bakit kailangang mang-alipusta o magmura? Sa totoo lang, parehong panigpro o con manay  guilty.

Subalit ito ang tunay na nakakainis: ang pagbaha ng sangkatutak na kasinungalingan, gawa ng mga tinatawag na trolls. Misyon ng mga trolls na palabuin ang katotohanan. Sa sama nang pagkakasulat ng mga inimbento nilang balita, kung iintindihin mo, madidiskubre mong ang mga ito ay kasinungalingan.  

Ito ang isa sa mga itinuro sa atin sa eskwela: na sa isang demokrasyang bansa, kung maglalahad ka ng opinyon, hindi ka dapat matakot na may pumula sa 'yo.

Sa kasalukuyan, napaka-hati ng ating bayan. Masyado tayong natali sa pagka-kanya-kanya o pagka-kampo-kampo, na hindi na bukas ang utak natin sa ibang pananaw. Walang turuan! 

Lahat tayo'y naging mapanghusga at  makitid ang isipan.

Bakit hindi na lang natin tingnan ang mga situwasyon ayon sa pananaw ng Panginoon?

Lahat tayo ay nagkasala, walang matuwid, Romans 3:23! Kaya walang makapagsasabing may isang taong puro tama ang gawa; kaya hindi dapat ipagtanggol kung ang isang tao ay mali na ang ginagawalalo kung ito'y malinaw na mali. Kahit pa siya ang presidente!

Kahanga-hanga ang president natin. Mahal niya ang bayan natin at hangad niyang mapabuti ang buhay ng mahihirap. Dapat tularan ang marubdob niyang pagnanasa na ibuwal ang lawless elements. Subalit walang isa manpresidente man siya o pulisang makapaghuhusga sa isang nagkamali maliban sa proseso ng due process at ng batas.

Hustisya at rule of law ang dapat masunod. Kung hindi, maraming inosente ang madadawit. Concern ito ng mga human rights groups. Subalit mas dapat tayong mabahala sa sinasabi ng Panginoon.

Makapangyarihan ang mga salita. Nagsalita ang Diyos at nalalang ang lahat. Kaya sabi ng biblia, "Ang buhay at kamatayan ay nasa pwersa ng dila," Proverbs 18:21. Ang mga salita ay nakaka-buhay o nakakasira.

Kaya bilang mananampalataya, hindi ako matahimik pag naririnig ko ang president natin na nagmumura, o nagsasalita nang pabalang at walang respeto sa iba. Napapanood natin siya araw-araw sa primetime TV. Pinapakinggan siya ng kabataan. Buong mundo ay nanonood!

Natutuhan ko sa paaralan na importate ang respeto para magtagumpay sa buhay. Ako ay isang guro, at halos araw-araw, ipinapaalala ko sa aking mga estudyante, "Maging magalang kayo," lalo na kung may nakikita akong nang-bu-bully.

Kaya umaasa din ako na maging magalang din ang ating president. Dapat makita ito ng mga kabataan sa kanya; kasi kung hindi, bakit pa natin ituturo ito? At saka, ang paggalang ay umaani rin ng paggalang ng iba. Kung ano ang itinanim, ito rin ang aanihin.

Gusto nating irespeto ng lahat hindi lang ang ating president kundi lahat ng Pilipino na nagsisikap  magtagumpay, nasa Manila, New York o Singapore man siya.

Ayaw nating umalis ang mga investors dito sa Pilipinas. Masyado silang nababahala pag ang lider ng bansang kinaroroonan nila ay astang champion ng "you and me against the world" na kaisipan.

Kasama tayo sa family of nations kaya kailangan nating matutong makipag-isa sa ibang bansa.    

"Sinumang na-ko-kontrol ng salita niya ay marunong, at siya na may mapagtimping ugali ay nakakaintindi," Proverbs 17:27.

Ephesians 4:29Huwag bayaang lumabas sa inyong mga bibig ang corrupt na salita, kundi yun lamang mabuti para sa ikatataas ng iba, ayon sa okasyon, upang ito ay magbigay-grasya sa mga nakikinig.

Patuloy nating ipagdasalhindi lamang para malaya tayong makapaglahad ng opinyon, kundi upang tayong mga Pilipino ay hindi makaramdam ng takot pag tayo'y nagsalita. Mas malaking dalangin natin: na hindi ipagbunyi sa bansang ito ang mali, at magsaya tayo sa mga tamang gawa.


Pilipino ako, taas-noong Pilipino. At patuloy kong ipagdarasal ang ating presidente at bansa.  

WORD WAR JUAN


"Words! Words! Words! I get words all day through; first from him, now from you! Is that all you blighters can do?"

Eliza, the character played by my favorite Hollywood actress, Audrey Hepburn, blurts out this line in the Broadway movie version of the musical "My Fair Lady."

Don't you get that same sick-and-tired feeling every time you click on Facebook nowadays? Acrid words inundate you like a tsunami. Your only recourse sometimes is to just X the barb-wired post so you can still sip your morning coffee in bliss.

But why this Juan versus Juan war of words?  Tons of angry and stinging words have flooded the net that some have decided to totally retire from FB or unfriend their friends.

Why can't one comment on our country's state of affairs, or the unacceptable behavior of our public officials, without readers plaguing you with nasty remarks? Why justify a wrong done? Why bash one's valid comments?

And why resort to name-calling? Why rant? Yes, both pros and cons have done this!

But what's so irritating is the prevalence and endless shares of lies, propagated by so-called trollsthose whose calling is to muddle the truth. Their made-up news are oftentimes so poorly crafted, the discerning realizes soon enough they're just that: lies!

I learned in school that the real essence of democracy is the freedom to speak without fear of reprisals, or people ganging up on you for your dissenting opinions.

Today, we are a country so divided because we've taken sides, become hardliners, and thus failed to judge situations and people objectively. I'm not pointing fingers. We've all fallen into the rut of being judgmental, narrow-minded and subjective.

How about we judge situations from God's perspective?

We're all sinners (Romans 3:23), and can't therefore justify that any one person's acts are ALL right, or one is beyond reproach, especially when some of his wrong actions are so blatant.

That holds true for our current president. I love his devotion to our country and people and his concern for the poor. I admire his passion for ridding the country of lawlessness. But no oneand this applies not only to him but also the police and all who need to impose the rulescan take the law in his own hands!

Justice and due process must prevail, precisely because the innocent must not suffer along with the lawless! Human rights groups have voiced their concerns. But we should care more about what God says!

Words are powerful. God spoke and His creations came into being. That's why the bible says that death and life are in the power of the tongue, Proverbs 18:21. Words can either build or wreck lives.

And that's why as a believer, I could not just sit down and approve of my president's cursing and disrespect for other's opinions. Audiences are glued on him every time he speaks on primetime TV. Children are listening. The entire world is watching.

I've learned too in school that one needs to be respectful to advance in life. As a teacher, I constantly remind my students to show respect, especially when I sense a bullying transpiring.

So I expect my own president to be respectful. Our young people must see that in our leaders, otherwise, why teach it? Also, because respect begets respect. What one sows is what he reaps!

We want that same respect accorded not just on the highest official of our land, but on every Filipino, whether he's in Manila, New York or in Singapore.

We don't want investors scrambling out of our country. They're just too jittery when a host country's leaders pose as a "you and me against the world" champion. We belong to a family of nations, looking out for each other, to a certain extent. There's a lot to gain by living peacefully with others, don't you think?  

"Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding," Proverbs 17:27.

Ephesians 4:29Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

This teacher prays, not so much for freedom of speech to prosper, but for all Filipinos to not feel threatened when they speak out; more, that we not tolerate what's evil, and applaud the good.


I am a Filipino and proud to be one. And I will continue to pray for my president and my country. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

FROM THE MOUTH OF BABES


"What's our bible study today?" asks Jayden.

"'Living Worthy of the Lord,' Colossians 1:9-14," I reply. Then he flips open his bible, looking for Colossians. 

Unable to find it, he comes to me for help. Whew, found it!  You see, prior, Jayden was already singing an acronym to make it easy for him to search for books in the new testament. 

He could have found it, but Colossians is such a tiny book in between Philippians and 1Thesallonians; and how many times have I too missed it! 

So on to our bible study—something his Mamita Vivian and I agreed to hold once a week for their household. In between our discussions, Jayden politely raised his hand several times to ask questions.   

"What is wisdom?" His last. 

"Remember Solomon..." I started to explain.

"Oh, yes, I remember. That's in Ecclesiastes. 

Jayden must be referring to: “Look, I have increased in wisdom more than anyone who has ruled over Jerusalem before me; I have experienced much of wisdom and knowledge.” (Ecclesiastes 1:16)

Why this blogpost on Jayden? 

Jayden is seven years old! 

I've a few times bantered with Jayden when he was younger; and boy, did he impress me with his quick repartees and little gentlemanly manners. He could even do mean mental maths! 

No wonder His parents Alfie and Ella always sport that proud-of-my-little-boy look. (Congrats, you've raised Jayden well.)

And in this recent bible study, he was my most attentive and engaged listener. I saw it in the eureka! glint in his eyes—revelations his young mind and heart have beheld as God's special instructions for him. 

He even took notes, under the heading, "Speaker: Lola Yay."

But this totally floored me: "I can't wait for the next bible study," he intimated before I left. 

What can I say? 

"Praise God for Jayden!" was all I could utter. "Could all church attendees be as focused on you, Lord?"

With my heart rocking to "How Great is our God," I headed back home, these words of Jesus having sprung up fresh as morning dew:

"Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these," Matthew 19:14. 

I can't wait for our next bible study! 






Monday, August 15, 2016

OLYMPIC VICTORY FOR CHRIST

photo credit: pinterest.com
To honor the gods, particularly Zeus. This may have inspired the holding of the  ancient Olympics back in the 8th century BC.

Well, today's Olympic champions, thank God, are dedicating their victory to the true Master of the universe.  And why not?  These athletes have experienced HIs enabling power. In their weakness, they have learned to rely on the powerful God who is the source of all strength.  

Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) particularly features athletes who are unabashed in declaring their faith on Jesus.  Some of its recent stories:

"Ven Niekerk, track star, South Africa, smashes Michael Johnson's record; gives glory to God."

"The fastest man on the planet, Usain Bolt is making headlines around the world, but reports say the God he worships is being ignored by the BBC."

"Olympic gold medalist Almaz Ayana tells the world how she was able to break a 23-year-old world record in the 10,000 meters track competition; she says it's because of Jesus. "   

"U.S. Track Star Allyson Felix, a devout Christian, told the Los Angeles Times that her Christian faith is the reason she runs."

Texas-native Simone Manuel, 19, "gives glory to God; took her place in Olympic history Thursday night, becoming the first African-American woman to win gold in swimming…"

"American Olympic divers David Boudia and Steele Johnson took silver in the men's synchronized 10-meter platform Monday night. They both have repeatedly shared how they find their identity in Jesus Christ."

"Five years ago 22-year-old Nigerian American Moralake Akinosun tweeted about her dream to compete in the Olympics. Today she is living her dream.  Akinosun, a Christian, said her faith inspires her to believe beyond the impossible."

These Olympic Games testimonies are just too many to mention here. From the most bemedalled Olympian, swim champ Michael Phelps, to gymnast "perfect 10" Simone Biles. All of them attest of THE God who repairs broken lives, empowers the weak and enables one to persevere despite the odds.

And that these feats are possible for those who are willing to be trained, to get back up when they fall, and to discipline themselves to master their skill even if it hurts―and to believe, really believe, that with God, nothing is impossible.

These bible verses must have taken life in the hearts of these champions:

"You thrill me, Lord, with all you've done for me. I sing for joy of what you have done," Psalm 92:4.

"When they call me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and HONOR them," Psalm 91:5.

By the way, haven't you noticed that the naysayers and faith-bashers have not said much to belittle these faith proclamations? They better not! Or they will be contending with adoring fans.  

Having honored God, these champions have brought glory to their countries as well.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

REVEAL TIME

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Hide and seek is fun. Finding that one playmate to replace you as tayรข is key:  

Is he behind the sofa, inside the closet or under the bed? Everyone screaming, laughing and scampering for home base all the more makes taguan exciting.

An aha! moment. That's what we experience when we uncover something hidden. No wonder  taguan delights kids.

Discovering God's truth gives you reason to rejoice too.

I've read the bible umpteenth times but I still break into "Wow!" moments. That's when fresh insights fly out of its pages to roost in the inner caverns of my heart. This happens too on certain Sundays when the preacher dives so deep into the Word (like searching for hidden treasures), enough to nourish my spirit days on end.  

So how could the devil snatch these words from me if they've securely burrowed into my heart? So when faced with temptations, I stand firm on the truth. Some of them:    

That I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me.

He knows me and calls me by name. I'm His child.

My sufferings are just temporary and He will give me victory.

He has not given me the spirit of fear but of love, power and a sound mind.

I am saved in Christ! And because of that, I have His mindto think pleasant, good and admirable thoughts.

Just by watching news on TV nowadays, you'd sense a world in turmoil. People are harassed, petrified, worried, stressed. Jesus himself warned us of terrible times ahead.

John 16:33"I have told you those things so that in me, you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take courage; I have overcome the world!"

The world needs to know! The truth could not be hid any longer.

In a Philippine barangay, a Juan or a Juanita may be caught in drug addiction but he/she does not know it's destroying him/her. And he/she's terrified of being caught.

Somewhere in a public school in America, a teenage boy may be attending the After School Club of Satan (CBNNews); or a young woman may be seeking  abortionconsequence of an anything-goes lifestyle.

An internet source reports  that  1.4 billion babies have been aborteda good percentage due to unwanted pregnanciesworldwide since 1980.

According to the Daily Mail, UK, site, the number of people killed worldwide through terrorism has soared by 80% in 2014. It wouldn't be surprising to see that percentage growing higher each year.

Generations of children have grown up without a sense of God and His righteousness. No wonder they live according to their own terms. And terror has abounded.  

The TRUTH must be revealed!

Everyone, especially the next generation, needs to know about the glorious deeds of the Lord, His power and mighty wonders (Psalms 78:4). That's the only way they could put their trust in the Word, and not in their gold or their little gods.

No hiding now. Let the WORD go, that they may cling to Jesus, their only source of hope and change.


Lord, give me the boldness to share and live your Word.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

LIE TO ME NOT

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"Lie through one's teeth."

This idiomatic expression, meaning to lie deliberately, even with a smile, dates back to the early 1300s per the English Language and Users website.

Lying through one's teeth implies a cold-blooded, deliberate attempt at truth-bending—"as if I never lied."

Who knows for sure when someone fakes it?

If you've watched the TV crime series, "Lie to Me," you'd soon find yourself inhabiting its main character's persona (Cal Lightman played by actor Tim Roth); and judging the criminal, "Yes, you're the culprit!" 

He sort of reads one's body language—from micro facial twitches to eye squints to finger tapping.

Wikipedia says that the show has been inspired by the work of Paul Ekmanpsychology professor emeritus at the University of California San Francisco University School of Medicine, world's foremost expert on facial expressions. He was the TV show's consultant.

"I will always know if you've plagiarized," I make it a point to tell new college students on first day of school. They almost always gasp in fear and disbelief. (It's nice to once in a while shock them, hehe!)

Not that I've all of a sudden developed a third eye or ESP (extra sensory perception). But I use an app which automatically scans and in seconds highlights plagiarized texts in a paper, directing me to the exact website it came from.  
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Pity students whose papers go back to square one because they thought they could out-smart us. (Teachers are not smarter, of course, just forearmed with technology, thanks SISFU!)

Did Melania Trump think she could get away with her Republican convention speech which parroted  Michelle Obama's? Imagine that video going viral and she being vilified elsewhere as a copycat. Honestly, I sense sabotage or bad faith on the part of Mrs. Donald Trump's speech writer. Should have been subjected to a "Lie to Me" grilling!

But why fake or misrepresent it? The truth is the truth! 

"Truthful words stand the test of time, but lies are soon exposed," Prov. 12:19.  

More on point: There is nothing hidden that won't be revealed, and there is nothing secret that won't become known and come to light," Luke 8:17.

It’s cool to be a social media hit, with either your literary piece, music or design running viral. Please attribute, if you're not the original creator.  

Recall that furniture designer who won $100,000 in a popular design competition? His euphoria just as easily died when the TV show's organizers learned his design was copied.

What to do, what to do when the accolades die down, shame takes over and regret weighs you down?

The One who sees your innermost knows. Come clean! "Repent then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord," Acts 3:19.


"O Lord, I sometimes can't help it. I lie! Forgive me. Change my cheating heart with a heart that wants to obey you. Make me brand new in Jesus."

Thursday, July 21, 2016

FLAWLESS FABULOUS DEAL

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To tattoo or not to tattoo? This was one of our recent topics in class.

"It's really about your convictions."  

"It disfigures."

"It depends on what the drawn image is all about. Skulls are pretty scary."

"Old testament prohibition; no longer applies."

There seems to be no end to the back and forth arguments about tattoos, is there?

My personal take on the topic? If God has made you and me wonderfully and fearfully, per Psalm 139:14, why indeed mess with it? Could anyone add or subtract to what God has done, when everything He created was "very good" according to Genesis 1?

Have you watched this TV show featuring two doctors reconstructing patients' noses, lips, necks, breasts, tummies, derrieresmind you even cheeks and absafter earlier plastic surgeries botched by other surgeons?

Note that quite a number of these patients believed they could look prettier, younger, sexier or more buffed if they bought more of the same. 

Per Children's Hospital (Philadelphia) plastic surgery division psychologist Canice E. Crerand, PhD, plastic surgery addiction is more psychological than physical.

image credit:
https://thegrandnarrative.files.wordpress.com
Called body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), this addiction happens to one who's "preoccupied with a slight or imagined, defect (usually of the face); then obsessed with doing something about it. One study suggests that as many as one-third of nose-job patients exhibit BDD symptoms."

It's a different thing altogether if one goes under the knife because of health issues such as a breathing difficulty or obesity, or to remedy disfigurement.

Again, who's to judge? Cultural, family and many other factors contribute to individual choices. 

Today, however, we can consider a Hollywood-mass media-advertisers-internet confluence as having dictated this generation's concept of beautyone which hails physical looks plus blings as greater than integrity of character.

Numbers do not lie. Both the tattoo and cosmetic surgery industries have grown by leaps and bounds, with US tattoo jobs totalling $2.3 billion dollars and cosmetic surgeries reaching $13.5 billion in 2014.  That's equivalent to all our country's BPO (business process operations) transactions combined.

It's a blessing in disguise that I don't have money to spare for even a double chin lop-off or a botox.

Honestly, even if one of my body parts is fixed today, surely others (e.g. tummy, arms, buttocks, etc.) are bound to droop and sag and fold anyway. So why even consider a lift? 

And if my butt gets augmented todaya whooping $4,000Mama mia, I'd surely be in rigor mortis!  

I'd rather have this lift: Psalm 3:3 Jesus, my glory and the lifter of my head!

Moses knew how to get into that lift. He spent time with God, so much so that when he went down to face the Israelites, his face shone brightly.

That biblical account says too that God's presence remained with Moses wherever he wentsomething no gold or silver or the applause of menor any tummy tuck for that mattercould ever replace.


What a flawless, fabulous deal!