Friday, May 30, 2008

Daily Digest #67

We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works. —Ephesians 2:10

Ephesians is a well-written book from the Scriptures, very short and very straight forward. It clearly states what we're here for, and the apostle Paul had been very gentle and kind in his words. It is a book mostly intended for those who seek hope, those who doubt, and those who are confused of what they're supposed to do here on earth. I hope we all find time to read this inspiring book and reflect on our lives.

May we pray for wisdom, that we may understand what God is trying to teach us, that our hearts may be opened to the truth. May we stop counting our good works, living by strict rules, because we do not earn our salvation. It is through God's grace that we are saved. We are all living for God's purpose. For this, may we do our utmost in everything, offering our efforts, thanksgiving, praise and love to Him. May we count our blessings, no matter how big or small. May we keep a close relationship with His son, Jesus Christ. Pray always.

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Daily Digest #66

If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. —John 14:3

I was reading today's gospel from Mark 10:46-52 in bed. It's about a blind man who received sight, and how his faith had healed him. I wondered how great this man's faith could be. Then I realized that one can only find real faith in love. The blind man couldn't have trusted God with all his life and hope if he did not love him. He must have known deep in his heart that Jesus Christ was indeed his Savior, his Healer, and the Son of God. He must have had a very intimate connection with Him, though he could not see. Yet God had made him see... much clearer than anybody who have had sight all their lives. I guess it applies to any other personal issues we encounter, like forgiveness. We can never forgive if we do not love first. Because we let love overpower everything else, making us do even what we think is impossible.

For this, may we learn to truly love God. It is easy to claim such love, yet hard to practice in everything that we do. No matter how much we testify of how great our love is for God, it is worthless if our own hearts speak out the opposite. May we learn about Him more, know him more, and have an intimate relationship with Him, just as the blind man had. Then, in His time, He will let us see all His wonders, exactly as how He intends for each of us to see. Pray always.

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Daily Digest #65

Be doers of the Word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. —James 1:22

We see, hear and feel God everywhere... Even in my sleep, I know how He communicates with me. My dreams are oftentimes symbolic. When I analyze the symbols, I come to a conclusion that He is guiding my thoughts and my emotions all along. I find comfort and refuge to know that He is always at my side. He always sends angels to aid us in our times of grief.

Yesterday, I spent my time reading the Book of Job. I was overwhelmed by the weight of his suffering. Yet in the end, God had made him realize that it's not the suffering that counts, but what we do with it. Will our faith make us overcome our difficulties? Will fear weaken our spirits? Will we stop trusting God, and forget that He is always in control?

Sometimes, trials seem to come to our lives non-stop. May we learn that everything is but a test. That He will never give us anything that we cannot bear. He may test our limits, but His love is too strong that we will never give up. He offers hope even in all hopelessness. May we not take our battles on our own. Jesus Christ is waiting for us to share the load, until we can completely lift it all up to Him. May we also learn from others. May we see God's work in our friends and family. May we realize how much God uses each of us for His glory, and not ours. We may be able to comfort our friends, but may we do so with the utmost purity of our hearts. May we pray always.

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Daily Digest #64

Your sun shall no longer go down , . . . for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and the days of your mourning shall be ended. —Isaiah 60:20

I have just gone through a very difficult situation. I know in time i will be able to share my experience to you. For now, I ask for your prayers that I may continue to find comfort in God, that I may never lose hope despite of all these trials. I thank my family and friends for being there just when I needed them the most. God truly listens. I find today's passage very inspiring. May we pray always. God bless!

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In The Wheel of Time

I had proposed to publish here, once a year, texts by Carlos Castañeda, an anthropologist who influenced my generation with his tales of meetings with Mexican sorcerers. For lack of space, I have not done so since 2004. Today I woke up thinking: Castañeda, despite all his critics and all his work that later on seemed so disorderly to me, should not be forgotten. So here we present some of his reflections.

Intention is the important thing: for the old sorcerers of Mexico, intention (intento) is a force that intervenes in all aspects of time and space. To be able to use and manipulate this force calls for impeccable behavior. A warrior’s final goal is to be able to lift his head above the rut where he is confined, look around him, and change what he wants. To do so he needs to have discipline and pay attention all the time.

Nothing is easy: nothing in this world is given as a present: everything has to be learned with a great deal of effort. A man who seeks knowledge must have the same behavior as a soldier going to war: absolutely attentive, afraid, respectful and utterly confident. If he follows these recommendations, he may lose the odd battle but he will never cry over his fate.

Fear is natural: fear of the freedom that knowledge brings us is absolutely natural; however, no matter how terrible the apprenticeship may be, it is worse to live without wisdom.

Irritation is unnecessary: becoming irritated with others means giving them the power to interfere in our lives. It is imperative to overcome this feeling. By no means should the acts of others distract us from our only alternative in life: coming in touch with the infinite.

The end is an ally: when things begin to get confused, a warrior thinks about his death and immediately his spirit returns to him. Death is everywhere. Think of the headlights of a car following us along a winding road; sometimes we lose sight of it, sometimes it appears to be too close, sometimes the headlights go out. But this imaginary car never stops (and one day catches up with us). The very idea of death gives men the necessary detachment to go ahead despite all their tribulations. A man who knows that death is approaching every day tries everything, but without feeling anxiety.

The present is unique: a warrior knows how to wait, because he knows what he is waiting for. And while he waits, he wants nothing, and in this way anything he receives – however small – is a blessing. The common man worries too much about loving others, or being loved by them. A warrior knows what he wants - that is all in his life and that is where he concentrates all his energy. The common man spends the present acting as winner or loser, and depending on the results he becomes persecutor or victim. The warrior, on the other hand, worries only about his acts, which will lead him to the objective he has traced for himself.

Intention is transparent: intention (intento) is not a thought, nor an object, nor a desire. It is what makes a man triumph in his objectives and lifts him up from the ground even when he has delivered himself up to defeat. Intention is stronger than man.

It is always the last battle: the warrior’s spirit does not complain about anything, because he was not born to win or lose. He was born to fight, and each battle is the last that he is waging on the face of the Earth. That is why the warrior always leaves his spirit free, and when he gives himself to combat, knowing that his intention is transparent, he laughs and enjoys himself.

Taken from Paulo Coelho Blog: Warrior of Light, Issue 173


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I Will Rest In You

Lord, I'm in the dark,
Seems to me the line is dead when I come calling.
No one there, the sky is falling;
Lord, I need to know.
My mind is playing games again,
You're right where You have always been.

Tell me I'm a fool,
Tell me that You love me for the fool I am,
Comfort me like only You can,
And tell me there's a place
Where I can feel your breath
Like sweet caresses on my face again.

Take me back to You
The place that I once knew as a little child,
Constantly the eyes of God watched over me.
Oh, I want to be
In the place that I once knew as a little child,
Fall into the bed of faith prepared for me.

I will rest in You.

Words and music by Michelle Tumes, Brent Burgeois and Jaci Velasquez.

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Friday, May 23, 2008

Daily Digest #63

Do not harden your hearts. —Psalm 95:8

You know, what strikes me more is when I am heartless without even knowing it. No matter how good we seem sometimes, if we are not sensitive enough by heart, we would most probably end up showing no mercy or compassion, especially when we are very much carried away by our emotions. We express our anger easily because they simply annoy us. "Pet peeves", as we all call it.

I wrote 2 articles about my pet peeves in my blog 2 years ago. It's funny when I recall how I used to react to people who did these things. I usually gave them a nasty look, a raised eyebrow, or even holler a rude comment if they really got into my nerves. Here's the list:

1. tunog ng takong sa hallway pag dis-oras ng gabi (hindi mumu, marami lang talagang inuumaga ng uwi sa apartment ko) -- sound of high heels in the hallway at past midnight (not that there are ghosts in my apartment, people just naturally come in and out at those times)

2. sirang gulong ng grocery cart na magloloko lang kung kelan puno na at pababa na ng moving ramp -- grocery carts with one bad wheel or any other non-working parts, when your cart is already full

3. mga taong parating may "like" sa mga pangungusap nila. like duh?!?! -- people who usually use the word "like" in their sentences

4. mga nangangalabit ng madiin at paulit-ulit -- people who nudge hard, several times

5. mga nagpapatong ng basang baso sa mga lamesa may barnis tapos walang coaster (OC!!!) -- people who don't use coaster on a varnished table/furniture

6. sali-salising hangers at wires -- tangled hangers and wires

7. mga bumubusina nang walang humpay -- people who honk their horns non-stop

8. cellphones na ang ringtone e "Happy Birthday", o "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" kahit hindi pasko. -- annoying ringtones, especially when it doesn't call for the occasion

9. mga umuubo o humahatsing na di ngccover ng bibig, at mga dumudura -- those who cough or sneeze without covering their mouths, and those who spit

10. mga ngbburp ng malakas tapos di nag-e-excuse me -- those who burp without excusing themselves

11. mga taong nsa unahan mo, nglalakad ng napakabagal, tapos di ma-overtake kse paliko-liko; o kaya ung biglang titigil sa gitna ng daan pag di alam kung saan pupunta -- those walking slowly in front of you when you're in a rush, and can't keep a straight line, disabling you to overtake

12. mga kuha ng kuha ng pagkain ng may pagkain, na hindi naman ka-close (uyyy ayaw magshare hehehe) -- strangers or acquaintances who take food from your plate, as if you're sooo close

13. mga nagyoyosing nagbubuga ng usok sa mukha mo, tapos timing na bagong ligo ka, or umagang-umaga -- those who smoke and puff right in your face when you've just showered, or when it's early in the morning

14. mga maingay ngumuya -- those who cannot chew quietly

15. mga taong nagrereact sa movie house, nagkkwento sa katabi o nagdadaldalan habang nanonood ng sine, o di nagpapatay o ng-m-mute ng phone sa loob ng sinehan -- those who react in cinemas, talk to each other while the film is running, or don't turn off or mute their cellphones inside the cinema

**Sorry if some of you are doing 1 or a few of these things, I don't intend to insult anybody. As I said, these are MY pet peeves.**

Anyway, I still can't help myself sometimes. But since we are now aware that we shouldn't simply act on our emotions, we can just keep it to ourselves for a while. If it's really that annoying, we can always vent it out on a pillow or a room where we can scream hehe. Or if we have the courage to confront the person calmly and lovingly, then the much better to speak. Sometimes, people are unaware of their behaviors, too.

For this, let us pray. May we develop a soft heart, that we may show mercy and compassion for those who are in need. May we learn to manage our emotions. May God always guide our every thought, word and action. Pray always.

List taken from these previous spills: Pet Peeves and More Pet Peeves

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Daily Digest #62

The things that you have heard from me . . . , commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. —2 Timothy 2:2

For me, a true spiritual journey enriches the soul and triggers the heart and mind to spread the joy, love and every blessing that one has enjoyed through God. We are not confined to tending our own selves. In fact, little by little we become selfless. It brings us more joy to see our family and friends grow in Christ. Even strangers! They are living testimonies of our much owed service to God, to glorify Him and not ourselves. We are all instruments to spread the Word of God in our lifetime.

If we wait for the moment when everything is ready, we shall never begin. May we take that first step. May be assured that the spread of God's Word will not stop until It reaches the four corners of the earth. May we be given wisdom, courage and strength as we embark on our mission. May we keep the faith, that God will empower us. Pray always.

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Daily Digest #61

Your Word I have hidden in my heart. —Psalm 119:11

I used to dread opening the Bible. There were some lying around the house when I was younger, and the minute I read the words "Thou", "Thy" and suffixes "-eth", it turned me off, thinking I wouldn't understand any of them. Then just over a year ago, I started reading the Scriptures (the new version hehe) with a reading guide for 2 weeks, as part of a covenant I have committed myself into. It covered chapters from every book, and little by little the Bible made sense to me. The next phase was for 3 months, covering more verses. Luckily, I found a Bible (from my sister's stuff.... thanks chi, and josh) that was very easy to read, with a bit of history and trivia on the side. Now, not only do I have no excuse for reading the Word, but I also get to really reflect on the verses every time. (Please pray that I do not forget to scan the reading guide and attach it to my next email). There are many available versions now, depending on our reading preferences. There's even a much simpler version for kids! I saw some versions with cute covers, very ideal as gifts for special occasions.

Our Daily Bread online, for instance, has been of great relevance to my mornings. As you can see, it highlights a Bible verse everyday. I find it very helpful, especially for those who are thinking of starting to read the Scriptures. We could not help but pray for those people who have poured out all their efforts and dedication to making the Word of God easier for us to read and understand. God continuously makes wonders through His people, reaching out to us in so many different ways, and urging us to reach out to each other more and more.

I once heard a redemptionist say that the Bible stands for "Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth". It was a funny, yet surreal, way of putting it. He said the Bible is a story of our life! Indeed, it is! For every joy, pain, confusion and struggle has been covered in the Scriptures, making us believe more that God really has gotten everything figured out. There's no experience or situation that is unique. Even people from the ancient times underwent these trials. And there's no greater joy than to know the life and death, AND life of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

May we take the first step in our spiritual journey by opening the Bible. Then may we pray for discernment and patience to understand what the Scriptures is trying to reveal to us. God is reaching out to us everyday, and it is only up to us to respond to His calls or not. May we learn to call out to Him also. Pray always.

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Daily Digest #60

All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. —Romans 8:28

I was fortunate enough to have attended a Christian retreat over the weekend, where we learned about emotions and how to deal with them the Christian way. I realized how grief and fear have affected and aided most of the major changes that took place in my life. I usually ask a lot of questions when in pain. I complain, usually praying that God takes it all away. But later on, I learned to pray for endurance so I wouldn't miss what God is trying to teach me. When caught up in a similar situation, I am now reminded to find out what else am I to learn from it. Otherwise, the situation would bring a different impact, a more positive one, which would prove that I have finally learned. It also taught me to rejoice over my grief and fear, because I believe He is truly at work in my life. Lately, crying and walking have been my frequent outlets. These are the times when I feel His presence more. Sometimes, I take friends in my walks and it makes me happy to share that bit of intimacy in my life. **Sorry to those who got very exhausted, I guess I'm just used to walking long distances hehe.**

Anyway, I just read this bit in one of my emails: "God makes a promise, faith believes it, hope anticipates it, patience quietly awaits it." Isn't this a wonderful thought to hold on to?

May we pour out all our joys and griefs to God. May we talk to Him openly and listen to His answers patiently. May His will be done at all times. Pray always.

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Worry of a Parent

Is there a magic cut-off period when
offspring become accountable for their own
actions? Is there a wonderful moment when
parents can become detached spectators in
the lives of their children and shrug, "It's
their life," and feel nothing?

When I was in my twenties , I stood in a hospital
corridor waiting for doctors to put a few
stitches in my daughter's head. I asked, "When do
you stop worrying?" The nurse said:
"When they get out of the accident stage." My
dad just smiled faintly and said nothing.

When I was in my thirties, I sat on a little
chair in a classroom and heard how one of my
children talked incessantly, disrupted the class,
and was headed for a career making
license plates. As if to read my mind, a teacher
said, "Don't worry, they all go through
this stage and then you can sit back, relax and
enjoy them." My dad just smiled
faintly and said nothing.

When I was in my forties, I spent a lifetime
waiting for the phone to ring, the cars to come
home, the front door to open. A friend said:
"They're trying to find themselves. Don't worry,
in a few years, you can stop worrying. They'll be
adults." My dad just smiled faintly
and said nothing.

By the time I was 50 , I was sick and tired of being
vulnerable. I was still worrying over my
children, but there was a new wrinkle. There
was nothing I could do about it. My
dad just smiled faintly and said nothing. I
continued to anguish over their failures, be
tormented by their frustrations and absorbed in
their disappointments.

My friends said that when my kids got married I
could stop worrying and lead my own
life. I wanted to believe that, but I was
haunted by my dad's warm smile and his
occasional, "You look pale. Are you all right?
Call me the minute you get home. Are
you depressed about something?"

Can it be that parents are sentenced to a
lifetime of worry? Is concern for one another
handed down like a torch to blaze the trail of
human frailties and the fears of the
unknown? Is concern a curse or is it a virtue
that elevates us to the highest form of life?

One of my children became quite irritable
recently, saying to me, "Where were you? I've been
calling for 3 days, and no one answered. I was worried."
I smiled a warm smile.
The torch has been passed.


(And also to your children. That's the fun part)


Friday, May 16, 2008

Daily Digest #59

Put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness. —Ephesians 4:24

All of us have encountered big problems in our lives... It may be loss of a loved one, a broken relationship, injustice, etc, and they surely stopped our world from spinning at one point or another. Yet, we are given hope... and we learn to see things in a different perspective.

I hope Between Heaven and Hell helps some, especially those who are suffering right now. May we pray for faith and endurance, that we may face our trials boldly. It is not the trial itself that matters but how we deal with it. May we keep looking up to Him. May we always believe that He will never let go, no matter what happens. Pray always.

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Daily Digest #58

Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. —John 9:3

We are often discouraged by our limitations. Many of these limitations are physical in nature, which humans have no power to control. But having heard and witnessed numerous stories of these people, we are encouraged to turn our weakness into His strength... I commend those who are spiritually strong in spite of their physical disabilities. Those who just act on the task they have for the day and praise God for the blessings they have received. They truly are a reflection of God's grace and love. We, who often complain about the slightest discomfort in our lives, are put to shame. We might say "i just can't do it" or "i'm just not able" or even "he/she can't do that", but who are we to say such things? The Bible says, God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of love, power and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7).

For this, may we assess ourselves. Let us pray that we may be able to overcome our fears and surpass our limitations. We are all urged to bring the best out of each other. At the same time, may we develop patience and faith for those who still could not overcome their fears and doubts. May we also pray for those who have been badly hit by recent calamities (China, Myanmar, India, and other countries at war). May we pray for each other always.

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Daily Digest #57

As an eagle stirs up its nest, hovers over its young, spreading out its wings, . . . so the Lord alone led [Jacob]. —Deuteronomy 32:11-12

May we not forget that we are not alone in our struggles. I have my down times once in a while, wondering where God had gone. But He has His ways, and He never fails. Last night was one of those times for me... and so I wrote When Hope Fades.

As I contemplated on the seasonal dryness of my life, it dawned on me that sometimes we see things differently that we miss what He's trying to show us. May we open our hearts to God. May we not hesitate to pour out all our joys and griefs to Him. He is only waiting for us to ask... for He surely has answers to all our questions, in His time and in His way. Pray always.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008


Take my sorrow and my sin
I will run into Your arms again
Hold me Father
Once again my tears are dried
By Your perfect love that's river-wide
As I stand on its bank
With my arms overhead
I am overcome

Covered by the evening sky
I turn my gaze to where Your kingdom lies
Deep inside me
A silent whisper in my mind
Sweet surrender to Your love divine
Peace enfolding
In the stillness, I empty my soul
And Your healing presence

As I breathe
The air of Heaven
Drawing in Your fragrance
When I breathe
I feel the fullness
Come alive inside of me
You're the breath that I breathe

It's taking hold
It's second nature
When I savor you
As I breathe

Words and music by John M. Mallory, Leigh Nash and Michelle Tumes

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Between Heaven and Hell

The place for sinners

Rabbi Wolf happened to walk into a bar one day; some people were drinking, others were playing cards, and the whole atmosphere seemed to be a bit heavy.

The rabbi left without saying a word; a young man followed him out.

“I know you didn’t like what you saw,” said the young man. “Only sinners live in there.”

“I liked what I saw,” said Wolf. “Those are men learning to lose everything. When they have nothing material left in this world, all that will remain for them to turn to is God. And from then on, what excellent servants they will be!”

Heaven and hell

A violent samurai who was known for picking fights for no reason at all arrived at the door of a Zen monastery and asked to speak to the master.

Without a moment’s hesitation, Ryokan came out to meet him.

“They say that intelligence is more powerful than strength,” said the samurai. “I wonder if you could explain to me the meaning of heaven and hell.”

Riokan remained silent.

“You see?” roared the samurai. “I could explain that very easily: to show what hell is, all I need to do is beat someone up. To show what heaven is, just let a person go free after menacing him a lot.”

“I don’t argue with stupid people like you,” said the Zen master.

This made the samurai’s blood boil. His mind was filled with hatred.

“Now, that is hell,” said Ryokan, smiling. “Letting yourself be angered by silly things.”

The monk’s courage disconcerted the warrior, and he relaxed.

“And that is heaven,” added Ryokan, inviting him in. “Not reacting to silly provocations.”

Another story about crosses

In a certain village in Umbria (Italy), there lived a man who was always bewailing his lot. He was a Christian, and found the weight of his cross too heavy to bear.

One night, before going to sleep, he begged God to let him change his burden.

That night he had a dream; the Lord led him to a warehouse. “Go ahead and change it,” he said. The man saw crosses of all sizes and shapes, with the names of their owners. He picked an average size cross – but when he saw the name of an old friend written on it, he left it aside.

Finally, as God had permitted, he chose the smallest cross he could find.

To his surprise, he saw his own name written on it.

The guru from Mesure

A famous guru lived in Mesure, in India. He managed to gather a good number of followers, and spread his wisdom generously.

When he reached middle age, he contracted malaria, but religiously continued to fulfill his ritual: bathing in the morning, giving classes at mid-day, and praying in the temple during the afternoon.

When fever and the tremors prevented him from concentrating, he took off the upper part of his garments and tossed them in a corner. His power was such that the clothes continued to tremble – while he, free from any contractions, was able to say his prayers in peace.

When he finished, he put on his clothes again, and the symptoms returned.

“Why don’t you give up those clothes once and for all, and get rid of the sickness?”, asked a journalist who saw the miracle.

“It is already a blessing to be able to do calmly what I have to do,” answered the man. “The rest is part of life; it would be cowardly not to accept it.”

Taken from Paulo Coelho Blog: Warrior of Light, Issue 172


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

When Hope Fades

I died...
Eyes that used to reveal life and passion
Are now blurred by tears that would not fall
The same ones that smiled when my heart rejoiced
And wept when it mourned.
They say that the eye is the window to a man's soul
And mine was as clear as crystal.
Yet over time, dust seem to have settled
And the eyes that used to follow my lips
Now utter blank words,
As if trapped in a place where no man can go.
They gaze at memories of the past, and linger
Until the heart is convinced
That everything was but a dream.
The heart that beats for love and hope and joy
Aches with uncertainty,
Afraid that all hope would soon be lost.
What remains of it, however,
Tells the soul to be calm,
To go where the wind blows,
And to live as though the end
Is just a step away.
How I long to live again!
But my heart knows better.
So it speaks,
"There is a time for everything.
And now is the time to rest."


Monday, May 12, 2008

Why Mother's Day

Because you entered this cold world causing her more pain than she thought possible and now she won't ever give up on you.

By Garrison Keillor

The cruel injustice of motherhood is that, out of devotion to her brood, she sacrifices so much of her own life that her children grow up to find her a little boring in comparison to the maiden aunt who is a little rebellious and more fun to be around, whereas Mom is just the lady who runs the vacuum. As Erma Bombeck said, the kids walk in and ask her, "Is anybody home?"

But she loves you. You could come home with snakes tattooed on your face and she still would see the good in you. Most great men were mama's boys. She encouraged them long before anybody else could see any talent there.

Your mother is on top of the situation. Your father has a hard time remembering your birthday or even your Christian name, but your mother knows you by scent, thanks to years of doing your laundry. She knows when you're in trouble. And you will get into deep trouble someday. Count on it. Someone will file a lawsuit against you and subpoena your e-mail and it will all come flooding out, your dark secrets, your nefarious dealings, and your friends will cross the street to avoid you and your brothers and sisters will fade into the woodwork, but your mother will still love you. Like an old lioness, she'll come running even if you're 2,000 miles away.

That is why you pay homage to the old lady on Mother's Day. You entered this cold world causing her more pain than she thought possible and now she won't ever give up on you. Those old ladies you see being wheeled onto airliners are the mothers of children facing imminent indictment for terrible things. Mama will be in the courtroom for you, baby. She will look the jury in the eye and her look may get you acquitted.

Buy her something nice, like a set of gold ingots. Or a black car with a chauffeur. She's your mama, honeybuns. At least you could write her a note.


Happy Mother's Day, Mama :D And to all the mothers out there.

Adapted from Garrison Keillor on Salon (Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion" can be heard Saturday nights on public radio stations across the country.)

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Daily Digest #56

Be tenderhearted, be courteous. —1 Peter 3:8

A million "ouch" for the passage today. I hope we all make time to reflect on it.

I'm a moody, moody person. When I'm in a bad mood, even the slightest nuisance distracts me. I try to control my reaction from time to time, usually leaving me silent and aloof. To my defense, I just try to make myself believe that it's better to be quiet than to do/say something mean and irrational. That's why I feel blessed to be surrounded by people who are familiar with my mood swings. However, there are times when I feel provoked, and it bothers me that some people who know me seem to do it on purpose. Reverse psychology never works for me. I'd rather be confronted face to face than play mind games. This leads me to think that maybe some people do not know any other way to express themselves. Or they really have issues that they need to discuss with me but afraid that I would snap at them. Haaay, communication barriers.... Hindi naman ako asar? Heheh.

Anyway, I have learned that no matter how pissed we are inside, we should still try to be kind to others. We can always smile, or just listen. I guess I, too, lack the courage to confront others in a loving way. I tend to let my bad mood take over me sometimes that I seem hateful, ready to attack. My apologies to those who have witnessed this kind of behavior. Maganda lang po, nagkakamali. I am always ready to make amends.

That is why it is important that we pray all the time. Prayer makes us realize our mistakes, and we learn to make up for them. It also helps us divert our attention to better things, instead of allowing the bad mood to hang in there. May we pray that He keeps us away from sin, that we may be able to fight the temptation to snap. May the Lord guide our every action, word and thought. May we also pray for those who provoke us on purpose, that they may be given courage to speak up in a language that we will both understand. And in turn, may we learn to listen and respond in a loving, and never vengeful, way so that our issues may finally be resolved. Pray always. God bless!

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Daily Digest #55

Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. —Matthew 7:12

We can all be demanding sometimes. I, for example, get easily upset when someone doesn't make it on time, when I have been late a million times, especially at work (well, not anymore :p)... I hated waiting, being the impatient person that I am, but it didn't occur to me that people have waited for me a lot of times.

I have learned so many things from my work. I have been working in a school for 5 years now. And it was only a year ago when I realized how much work I had to do, with myself. I longed for change in most of my classes, in how things were run by the management, yet I wasn't doing much of my part. I lacked the intimate teacher-student relationship. I wanted to be really heard by the kids I taught, but it was all one-sided. All I knew was they were supposed to listen and pick up everything I taught them. I wanted to be greeted with a friendly smile, but I wasn't even smiling at them. I wanted a lot from others that I myself couldn't even do or provide.

I began to realize how much I have concentrated on myself, which usually caused extreme exhaustion with unsatisfactory results or response. One day, I experimented on the "smile". Since I wasn't used to smiling all the time, I felt I would be making a lot of effort doing so. Walking from my home to work, I started with the cleaning lady. Immediately after I smiled, she smiled! So I went on with the store owner, the banana-fritter lady, the guard, the students in school, then the other teachers. What great wonders one smile can make!

In my classes, I found out how the slightest interest a teacher expresses for a student could do for a child. I started with the most annoying kid in my class. He was so noisy and KSP, yet he was one of the dullest kids in school. At first it was really hard, I still had to build the trust he demanded. When I started to show my interest in football after seeing his football pictures in the computer, he started talking about his favorite players, and how he dreamt of going to Europe to watch the games. After that small talk, he started showing interest in my class, and actually finished the projects I assigned. He graduated from grade school already, but I still see him sometimes. Just yesterday, he dropped by the office to say hi.

Another kid from a much lower level used to piss me off for being so talkative (ehem, like me when I was younger...pag kinakarma nga naman). He was very bright though. One day, he came up to me to ask about HTML, a language for web pages. I was surprised of his enthusiasm that for the first time, I really tried explaining it in the level of a 9-year old. But it didn't matter if he understood, because he was starting to share a bit of himself to me, and it was very fulfilling. I guess teaching can be very personal, hehehe.

I believe we can do anything when it comes from the heart. For me, loving starts with the willingness to be a part of another person. Most of us are afraid to invest on anything that doesn't guarantee any return. But what do we have to lose anyway? We will learn to give without expecting anything in return. Any positive response we get is a bonus. When this becomes very hard to comprehend, I guess we have to start re-assessing the meaning of "love".

For this, may we learn to walk in Jesus Christ's steps. May we learn to love just as He did. May we look up to Him and ask for His guidance in everything that we do. Pray always.

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Daily Digest #54

Those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. —Isaiah 40:31

By default, we dread aging. When we turn 32, we are saddened by the fact that our age does not belong to the maximum number of days in the calendar anymore. We worry that our skins would wrinkle and sag, our hairs would fall off or turn gray, our knees would shake and our backs would crouch in the years to come... All those years of trying to look young and beautiful would soon end. But what is really so bad about that when we know that our earthly bodies would die and return to dust once again?

I am reminded of the book "Tuesdays With Morrie". When Mitch asked Morrie about the fear of aging, he answered, "As you grow old, you learn more. If you stayed at twenty-two, you'd always be as ignorant as you were at twenty-two. Aging is not just decay, you know. It's growth. It's more than the negative that you're going to die, its also the positive that you understand you're going to die, and that you live a better life because of it." He feels that once people have found meaning in their lives, they never want to go back and be young again. He feels that if your life has meaning you will want to progress forward with age by doing more things, seeing more and learning more.

May we grow in spirit as time passes. May we learn about the most valuable things in life. May we not focus so much on our physical appearances. Men are concerned about the beauty on the outside, while God is more concerned about what's inside. May we assess ourselves and our priorities. Pray always.

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Tuesday, May 06, 2008


I was assigned to share our CCD Sunday school experiences at a General Assembly over the weekend. I wish to share the joy of serving, even in our own little ways, so I have decided to post my speech here.

As I continue to reflect on "service", I am reminded of a faraway friend who I find very gifted in public speaking. I hope and pray that you utilize this God-given gift more to help and inspire those who seek or need words of wisdom. I have been a witness to your effectiveness. May God guide you always as He reveals your purpose.


We, a household comprised of 5 members, committed ourselves to teaching the Pre-K class in CCD at Ruamrudee Church. We held class every Sunday, from 10.00 to 10.30am, from September 2007 to April 2008 -- a span of 8 months.

Values Developed

Commitment, Trust, Endurance, Responsibility, Selflessness, Humility, Faith, Accountability, Patience

The Sign

It was in July or August when all the households were trying to find a charitable institution where we can render service. Our household started with the same objective, which is simply to serve. We didn’t know then that we would be led to teaching Sunday school. There were various options like the orphanage, homes for the aged, and medical outreach programs, and we were considering anything that might come up.

Then one day, we bumped into Ate Aliw. She was just telling us that she came from her CCD class and didn’t know what to do with the extra snacks she was carrying in a huge plastic bag. I don’t remember if she even gave us some, but anyway, we came to know that there was a shortage in the teaching staff. That she was handling the K3 class of 30 all by herself. We thought that might be a sign, that we ought to offer our services to CCD. We didn’t ask for it, but it became clear that it was what God intended for us to do. We got the details right away and planned, even when none of us had any experience in teaching 3-4 year-old kids. I guess we can testify that God truly equips people for His purpose.

Angels in Disguise

It took some time to adjust since we were all inexperienced, but we knew God was watching over us the whole time. We had all the help that we needed. Teaching materials were made available by parents, other teachers and of course, the internet. Parents were always willing to assist. Snacks for kids came every meeting. He even sent other people who gave us tips on how to get the kids to interact with each other.

There were times when we had problems of our own, making us unavailable physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually. But that didn’t cause us to give up our service. Someone in the group always came to cover for the whole team. We were humbled and inspired by each other’s level of commitment. God always made a way to get us through.

The household meetings became more interactive and goal-oriented. Our prayers and sharing became more meaningful because they involve the service that we actually do together. Our household became a haven for openness and creativity.

Counting Our Blessings

We were fortunate enough to have good kids in class. God made it easy for us, despite the fact that 3-4 year-old kids have very short attention span. There were only few of them crying, refusing to be left by their parents; kids who couldn’t stay in their seats; kids that hit; and so on. With God’s help and guidance, we were able to practice endurance, patience and appreciation for kids more. We also learned to adapt ourselves, teaching the way they learn and not the other way around, to instill the values in the level of their understanding.

We couldn’t thank and praise God enough for giving us the opportunity to serve Him in a new and fun way. It had been a great honor to serve as God’s instrument to deliver His message to the young ones. We also learned more about ourselves – our hidden talents, our strengths and weaknesses. We learned that by just being there, we were allowing ourselves to practice selflessness, when before we only dedicated Sundays all to ourselves. We also learned that it is important to focus our goals on Jesus Christ alone because He will surely give us the wisdom, strength and courage to deliver His message.

Kids are always the easiest to teach. And amazingly, kids have taught us many things in return. Sometimes, when we think we are doing something for others, they end up doing more for us.


Saturday, May 03, 2008

Father's Love Letter

More videos available here:
* A Very Special Man
* Admirers and Disciples
* One Simple Carpenter
* The Beatitudes
* Psalm 139
* Inspiring English Blessing
* God and His Universe

These are also available for downloading. Visit E-Water: Christian Flashes and E-Cards.

Go, spread the Word! God bless everyone! :D


Friday, May 02, 2008

Daily Digest #53

Blessed be the Lord, who has pleaded the cause of my reproach. —1 Samuel 25:39

Good intension can sometimes be taken the wrong way. We are caught off guard by the unexpected response. We start to think that we are judged before giving any consideration to the words we say or things we do, or others become defensive because they feel they're being judged. But we can never really control how others react or feel about the things we say or do. It also happens to us when our minds are already made up about something, or when we're confused. And no matter what advice the other person gives, we ignore it. All of us can seem assuming sometimes, even when it's for a noble cause. We worry that the people we're concerned about might end up making the same mistakes. It's always a choice they have to make on their own. I think as long as we have expressed our concerns with all our hearts and with prayer, that should be enough. The rest is up to God.

Without prayer, we are left unsatisfied with the task and we tend to insist on what we think is right. But pushing it would seem self-righteous, treating fellow adults like children. Some might debate "but they really act like children!" For the longest time, this has been hard for me to take as well, but then I realize God always makes room for each of us to grow and change. It may not be through me, or you; but for sure, someone else is destined to do it, and in ways we have never imagined happening. As the saying goes, "yours may be a way, but it's not the only way". Here, we witness how God truly works in people's lives.

I have been a witness to others' transformation, and I have learned a great deal just being a spectator. Most times, we try to be mentors of philosophy and belief when we feel as if we have experienced enough. For sure, others will benefit on what we have to offer, but we can never expect EVERYBODY to relate to and learn from every single word we say. We can not take matters into our own hands. We can only hope and pray that God takes care of everything, His way and in His time.

For this, may we divert our pleas and insistence to prayer, learn to lift our concerns to God and trust that His will be done always. May we also develop patience and sympathy for our brothers and sisters, especially at times when all they need is a listener. Pray always.

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Daily Digest #52

I sought the Lord, and He heard me. —Psalm 34:4

I find the passage above very enlightening... It reminds us of how patient and faithful God is. He waits for us to call on Him everyday... to ask for His help and guidance... to simply talk to Him, as if talking to our best friend or loved one. The people who care for us were sent by God in our lives to show and teach us about love, patience, understanding, selflessness, humility, kindness, hope, faith and much more. We are to value these relationships because it is in them that we learn and grow the EASIEST. Most of us wait for tragedy to happen before realizing the lesson that is being taught, and God never intends for that to happen. Our circumstances are products of the decisions we make day by day, no matter how big or small. But when we learn to walk in Jesus' steps, we would be guided in everything that we do, and we will depend on God more because we believe He knows everything, and that He only wants the best for us.

For this, may we always pray. May we learn to talk to God, as if He's actually right there, sitting right next to us. He is always ready to comfort us and give us strength at times when we need it the most. May we also learn to express our love for the dearest people in our lives (giving them a kiss, a hug, saying "i love you" and other endearing words while there's still time). May we learn to value our relationships and share the lessons we've learned to others. At the same time, may we never fail to thank and praise Him for these blessings. May we trust God at all times.

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Daily Digest #51

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. —Mark 16:15

We often overestimate "service to God", seeing them only as martyrdom or even self-righteousness, which make most of us think that they are hard or even impossible to do. We limit our understanding of "service" to missionary, priesthood and other charity works. Yet, we forget that the people around us need as much preaching, charity and prayer that we could ever contribute to any organization. Preaching is never about the person speaking, but the message that is being delivered to us from, and about, God. And charity is not always about money or other worldly things, but may be as simple as a helping hand, a lending ear, an understanding heart or a wise counsel. At the same time, we seek God's counsel and guidance so we may understand what He wants us to do, or how He wants us to do it. Making our intension solely for God's glory and not ours makes a huge difference. We ought to start first with our families, then our friends... then eventually, we would extend ourselves to our co-workers and neighbors. For those of us who are fortunate enough to belong to a Christian community, it is even easier to exercise our services to God to its members since everyone already has a common goal. It is always easier to accomplish things when done with somebody who believes in the same things.

For this, let us pray. May we be a light to others when everything around them has turned dim. May we remember that once our lights were out too, and somebody else has ignited it for us before. May we be a reflection of Christ's love and works in our lives. Pray always.

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Daiy Digest #50

The Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them. —Revelation 7:17

We are humbled by the fact that Jesus, the King of all kings, gave up His life and followed His Father's will to be the Lamb for all our sins. We are overwhelmed by this supreme act of love. And we are called upon to follow His steps, to be messengers of the Word and live according to God's will. Jesus clearly demonstrated obedience, sacrifice, trust and love for His Father... and for us. If we get to know the Lord more, we will learn about God more... and He will show what He wants for us to do. Like lamb to a shepherd, we hear the Master's voice and follow the Master's call. And there's no greater joy than knowing that each of us belong to one herd... the one family He has made for us in heaven.

May we be given discernment of what He wants us to be. May He guide us in everything we say or do. May we keep looking up to Him. Pray always.

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Daily Digest #49

They sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him. —Job 2:13

We are normally concerned of our family and friends' lives so we try to help them as much as we can. And most times, we are unaware that the "help" we do interferes with what God really intends us to do, or be. As family members, it's normal to be protective of our siblings, our children, our spouses... yet there are times when we forget to listen, rather than talk about the shoulda-coulda-woulda's. I gained understanding and enlightenment on this from my family and friends on several occasions. I learned that sometimes, all we need to do is shut up and be there. No questions why this mistake was done, or how one ended up in such a complicated situation, or what on earth was the other thinking. We may be the wiser person at these troubled times, but isn't it much wiser to be kind and sympathetic instead? We wouldn't know how a person truly feels if we do not allow him/her to express one's self, without judgment or self-righteousness.

For this, may we be good listeners. Sometimes, all a person needs is a hand to hold and a heart to understand. May we also remember that each of us is in some kind of battle, and that we ought to be kind to each other. May we learn to control our grudges and self-righteousness and divert them to prayer instead. May we always believe in the power of prayer.

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