Friday, January 30, 2009

Daily Digest #221

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. —Galatians 6:7

Sow today what you want to reap tomorrow. This line got me into thinking... "what do i want to reap tomorrow that i would have to sow today?"

I've always wanted love, respect and laughter in my life, whatever kind of situation there is... A kind that gets me through anything, allowing me to hold on, no matter how grave things get. I notice how one invites love by simply being lovable. Not because of appearance, but because of deeds that invite love back, without expectations. And I notice how one invites respect when he/she has truly earned it. My students taught me that :D

The relationships I have built, and broken, over time have taught me these things -- together with accountability, commitment and listening. Sometimes, I still wonder why I get so lonely or angry for everything that I don't get back. But I figured, if i wanted love, respect and laughter in my life, I ought to practice them to myself, unceasingly. I can only hope and pray that I keep focused on the joy it brings, and would bring in the years to come.

For this, let us pray. May we remind ourselves everyday of the things we want to reap someday. Sometimes, the biggest hindrance is an unforgiving heart. May we ask God to teach us how to forgive others, and most importantly, ourselves. May we stay focused on our immaterial goals. Pray always.

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. (Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi)

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Daily Digest #220

Do not cast me off in the time of old age; do not forsake me when my strength fails. —Psalm 71:9

I can't help but think about the book Tuesdays With Morrie. Please allow me to share memorable quotes from the book. Enjoy the following passages! May we age with grace and wisdom. Pray always.

Quotes from Tuesdays With Morrie

On Culture:

"The culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn't work, don't buy it." (p.42)

"People are only mean when they're threatened, and that's what our culture does...And when you get threatened, you start looking out only for yourself. You start making money a god. It is all part of this culture." (p.42)

On Tension of Opposites:

"Life is a series of pulls back and forth. You want to do one thing, but you are bound to do something else." (p.40)

"A tension of opposites, like a pull on a rubber band. And most of us live somewhere in the middle." (p.40)

On Love:

"Love wins. Love always wins." (p.40)

"Love each other or die." (p.163)

On Forgiveness:

"Forgive yourself before you die. Then forgive others." (p.164)

"We...need to forgive ourselves... For all the things we didn't do. All the things we should have done. You can't get stuck on the regrets of what should have happened." (p.166)

On Getting Meaning into Life:

"So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they're busy doing things they think are important. This is because they're chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning." (p.43)

On Most Important Thing in Life:

"The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in." (p.52)

On Trust:

"...if you are ever going to have other people trust you, you must feel that you can trust them, too--even when you're in the dark." (p.61)

On Friendship:

"...we've had thirty-five years of friendship. You don't need speech or hearing to feel that." (p.71)

On Death and Ambition:

"...the truth is...if you accept that you can die at any time--then you might not be as ambitious as you are." (p.83)

On Family:

"The fact is, there is no foundation, no secure ground, upon which people may stand today if it isn't the family." (p.91)

"If you don't have the support and love and caring and concern that you get from a family, you don't have much at all. Love is so supremely important." (p.91)

On Having Children:

"There is no experience like having children...If you want the experience of having complete responsibility for another human being, and to learn to love and bond in the deepest way, then you should have children." (p.93)

On Material Things:

"Don't cling to things, because everything is impermanent." (p.103)

"You can't substitute material things for love or for gentleness or for tenderness or for a sense of comradeship." (p.125)

On Emotions:

"If you hold back on the emotions--if you don't allow yourself to go all the way through them--you can never get to being detached, you're too busy being afraid." (p.104)

On Dying and Living:

"When you learn how to die, you learn how to live." (p.104)

"Don't let go too soon but, but don't hang on too long." (p.162)

On Being a Child:

"We all know how to be a child. It's inside all of us. For me, it's just remembering how to enjoy it." (p.116)

On Youth:

"...I know what a misery being young can be, so don't tell me it's so great." (p.117)

" addition to all the miseries, the young are not wise. They have very little understanding about life." (p.118)

On Aging:

"Aging is ot just decay...It's growth." (p.118)

"If you're always battling against getting older, you're always going to be unhappy, because it will happen anyhow." (p.118,119)

"You have to find what's good and true and beautiful in your life as it is now. Looking back makes you competitive. And, age is not a competitive issue." (p.120)

"How can I be envious of where you are--when I've been there myself." (p.121)

On Money and Power:

"Money is not a substitute for tenderness, and power is not a substitute for tenderness." (p.125)

On Status and Showing Off:

"...if you're trying to show off for people at the top, forget it. They will look down on you anyhow. And if you're trying to show off for people at the bottom, forget it. They will only envy you. Status will get you nowhere. Only an open heart will allow you to float equally between everyone." (p.127)

On Immortality:

" is how you stay alive, even after you are gone." (p.133)

On Marriage:

"I've learned this much about marriage. You get tested. You find out who you are, who the other person is, and how you accommodate or don't." (p.149)

"...there are a few rules I know to be true about love and marriage: If you don't respect the other person, you're gonna have a lot of trouble. If you don't know how to compromise, you're gonna have a lot of trouble. If you can't talk openly about what goes on between you, you're gonna have a lot of trouble. And if you don't have a common set of values in life, you're gonna have a lot of trouble. Your values must be alike." (p.149)

"I think marriage is a very important thing to do, and you're missing a hell of a lot if you don't try it." (p.149)

On Shortsightedness:

" matter where you live, the biggest defect we human beings have is our shortsightedness. We don't see what we could be. We should be looking at our potential, stretching ourselves into everything we can be come." (p.156)

On Needing Others:

"In the beginning of life, when we were infants, we need others to survive, right? And at the end of life, when you get like me, you need others to survive, right? But here's the secret: in between, we need others as well." (p.157)

On Being Number Two:

"What's wrong with being number two?" (p.159)

On the Important Questions:

"As I see it, they have to do with love, responsibility, spirituality, awareness." (p.175)

On Death :

"Death ends a life, not a relationship." (p.174)

On Relationships:

"There is no formula to relationships. They have to be negotiated in loving ways, with room for both parties, what they want and what they need, what they can do and what their life is like." (p.177,178)

-Mitch Albom

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Daily Digest #219

You shall have no other gods before Me. —Exodus 20:3

Exodus 20:1-17 states the 10 commandments. I can picture the scene in Moses' movie when the laws were engraved one by one on the stone tablet, with God's voice bold and mighty in the background. To me, it seemed like a horrible warning, like "if you don't follow them, you'll be punished and sent to the depths of hell!!!". Most of us do not want to be pushed around, or pressured into something against our will. Some believe that the essence of these laws are marred because people preach them yet do otherwise. And some think these commandments are just impossible to do.

I believe Jesus knew and understood all these things, and He knew His Heavenly Father sent Him to fulfill these commandments, in flesh. He reached out to the poor, the weak, those who were excluded from the belief. And he simplified these 10 laws into 2 marvelously stated commandments: 37Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments." (Matthew 22:37-40)

Although they sound much simpler than before, they are intended for the same purpose. For me, they do not serve as bases for punishment, but guidelines on how to live fully and serve the Lord wholeheartedly. And it takes courage and commitment to actually follow them. We may think that these are bound to be followed only by saints, but may we all remember this -- every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.

For this, let us pray. May we grow a heart of love and obedience. We humbly ask for the Holy Spirit to come and guide us every day. We ask for strength and courage to walk by faith, and lead others to God by the way we live. Pray always.

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Daily Digest #218

Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled. —Luke 18:14

Honestly, I do this unconsciously, especially when I am mad at somebody. I point out the person's flaws and ask God why he/she is the way he/she is. I instantly know what the person should do or be, and complain how he/she could not know it. It has been very humbling to be reminded of how I should never judge anybody, how each person has his/her own journey. It made me realize how my thoughts and actions have always been tainted, because if my heart was pure, I wouldn't be personally angry at or offended by anybody in the first place.

I figured our reactions to different situations depend on the condition of our hearts. People or circumstances may seem to irritate us, but do we ever wonder why they bother us so much? Why do we allow these things to ruin our day, give them power over our lives, when we always have the choice to view it at a different perspective? The answer always lies within ourselves. Let us do a quick check every time our moods turn sour.

For this, let us pray. May we realize that the biggest enemy we have most of the time is our own selves. May we allow God to cleanse our hearts. May we walk humbly, and never hesitate to ask God for help especially when our anger, frustration or hatred seem to rise. May we take our personal battles to God and let Him be the judge of everything. May we always see each day as a blessing -- an opportunity to love and be happy. Pray always.

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Daily Digest #217

When the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. —John 15:26

Yesterday, in Sunday school, we asked our pre-k kids to pray about something that they really, really want. And one kid said, "I pray that my mom would learn to smile everyday. She's always angry." I couldn't say anything else but "so we'll pray for that everyday, okay?" I thought we, like mothers who want what's best for their kids, we often forget to show our love and care in ways that people we care about understand. Just like telling them about God or Jesus Christ, which has become a subject for debate over the years. Many, especially those who claim to be believers, act the opposite of what they say. I have been guilty of this also. I do believe that the best way to share about God is by the way we live. Do we choose compassion over righteousness? Are we grateful? Do we love? Do we have passion?

I believe I have made the same impression on some people about my daily emails. And I have learned of some who simply refused to read, because the "messenger" is not so credible or convincing. One time, my father told me how my text messages hurt (i send them sms daily), like I sent them to him on purpose. I learned how insensitive I had actually been, knowing about His struggles that time. These things used to worry me. I learned that sometimes, it's really better to be kind than right. Now, I can only pray that God uses my emails as an instrument to build bridges between Him and people I care about. I can only share His Words, and testify of His love and works in my life, and those I have witnessed around me -- hopefully, with kindness and love.

For this, let us pray. May God teach us love and kindness every day. May we be thankful for all our blessings. May we learn to repent, and really have a change of heart. May we show God's love in the way we live. Pray always.

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Saturday, January 24, 2009

Keeping Open to Love

by Paulo Coelho

There are moments when we would like very much to help someone we love deeply and we just can't seem to do a thing. Either circumstances prevent us from drawing closer or else the person has shut off to any gesture of solidarity and support.

So, all we have left is love. In those moments when everything is useless, we can still love - without expecting anything in return, any exchanges or thanks.

If we can manage to act in this way, the energy of love begins to transform the universe around us. When this energy appears, you always perform your work successfully.

"Time does not change men. Will power does not change men. Love changes men," says Henry Drummond.

I read in the newspaper about a child in Brasília who was brutally beaten by his parents. As a result, she lost her body movements and her power of speech.

Admitted to the Base Hospital, she was taken care of by a nurse who said to her every day: "I love you." Although the doctors guaranteed that she could not hear and that the nurse's efforts were all to no avail, she kept repeating: "I love you, don't you forget that."

Three weeks later on, the child had recovered her movements. Four weeks later, she started to talk and smile again. The nurse never gave any interviews and the newspapers did not publish her name - but let it be registered here, so that we will never forget: love is a great healer.

Love transforms, love heals. But at times love builds mortal traps and ends up destroying the person who has decided to surrender completely. What strange sentiment is this that deep down is the only reason for us to go on living and struggling and trying to make things better?

It would irresponsible of me to try to define it because, like any other human being, all I can do is feel it. Thousands of books have been written about it, plays put on at the theater, films produced, poems scribbled, sculptures carved in wood or marble - and even so, all that the artist can convey is the idea of a feeling, not the feeling itself.

But I have learned that this feeling is present in the small things and manifests itself in the most insignificant of attitudes we take, so we must always have love in mind when we act or fail to act.

Picking up the phone and uttering that affectionate word we have been putting off. Opening the door and showing in someone who needs our help. Accepting a job. Leaving a job. Making that decision that we were putting off for later. Apologizing for a mistake we made that will not leave us in peace. Claiming a right that we have. Opening an account at the florist's - which is more important than the jeweler's. Playing the music loud when your loved one is far away and lower the volume when he or she is nearby. Knowing how to say "yes" and "no" - because love involves all of man's energies. Discovering a sport that can be practiced by two. Not following any prescription, not even those listed in this paragraph - because love calls for creativity.

And when none of this is possible, when all that is left is loneliness, then remember a story that a reader once sent me:

A rose dreamed day and night about having the company of the bees, but none ever came to land on her petals.

But the flower went on dreaming: during many a long night she imagined a sky with lots of bees flying towards her and kissing her tenderly. In this way she managed to resist to the next day, when she opened again to the sunlight.

One night the moon, knowing how lonely the rose felt, asked her:

- Aren't you tired of waiting?

- Perhaps. But I have to struggle on.

- Why?

- Because if I don't open up, I will wither.

At moments when loneliness seems to crush all beauty, the only way to resist is to keep yourself open.

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Daily Digest #216

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. —Romans 12:21

I would like to share a story that Joyce Meyer told us in the conference. During her younger years, she was a very unhappy child. Her home didn't give her the love and protection a growing child needs. She was abused by her alcoholic father, and her mother kept silent about it. She went through high school, without experiencing a normal childhood. After many years, already a wife and a mother, her father became seriously ill. Bad memories came rushing back. But this time, she already knew God, and she was drawing strength from Him. God made her realize that evil was just feeding on her father's weaknesses. So she made a decision. She took her father in and cared for him till he drew his last breath. And finally, she had the peace she was longing for. That was what she called "giving the devil two black-eyes".

I wish I could punch the devil straight in the face each time I came across it. Every day, my better judgment is clouded by my own weaknesses, and most of the time I allow myself to get carried away. Little things like yelling at my students when I lose my temper, or delaying tasks only because I don't feel like doing them. What I don't immediately realize is that other people are affected by my actions. I have already bruised a child's spirit, and my delays have echoed on others' work. Sometimes, I allow the devil to take hold of my life when I could actually defeat it by doing goodness instead.

Looking back at those moments when I called upon God and gave the devil a black eye, it reassures me that God is watching, and that goodness will always overpower evil. It is all but a matter of choice.

For this, let us pray. May we make the choice to be on God's side. May we call upon Him in moments of weakness. May we learn to pray, especially when we are tempted to sin. May we be assured that our weakness becomes His strength, if we allow it to. Pray always.

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Daily Digest #215

Who is like You, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders? —Exodus 15:11

I was watching Obama's inauguration last night. It was a delight to witness God being honored by different people, including the president. What an opportune time to speak of His power over our lives in front of millions of crowd patiently waiting out there in the cold, and the whole world from their tv screens. There were calls for inner change, and virtues tested by time were stressed. Even though it seemed usual to hear these kinds of advice in an inaugural speech, I am sure that some lives were truly changed yesterday. Our world lacks faith and love nowadays. Our hopes often cling onto people or society's system alone, and both, separated or combined, will never be strong enough to endure the world's trials without God's help and guidance.

For this, let us pray. May God bless and guide all our leaders. May they seek His will in serving others. May they bring peace and unity among their people. May God be glorified in everything that they do. And may we do our part by making that change within ourselves. Pray always.

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Daily Digest #214

Let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. —James 1:6

To tell you the truth, I have been doubting God several times a day. Just this morning, I was having a rough start here at work. There was nothing much to do early in the morning, and I was easily irritated by the noise around me. The slow internet irked me, and more when the Daily Bread was not loading. I started whining inside my head, "do I have to wait for this, too???" I knew I had to take a walk to relax a bit, so I went outside the campus grounds to think, but I ended up eating (I don't normally eat breakfast). As I walked back to work, I started thinking about things that are wrong in my life, then blaming God for not making them right. Imagine that way of thinking so early in the morning? Then all that was left for me to do was tell Him I was tired. It was like hearing Him say, "napagod ka rin ano? relaks...." (so u finally got tired huh? relax....) Then, I finally smiled.

It's funny, looking back now, how God was actually teaching me about faith and perseverance even in idleness. I believe idleness could also be a moment of trial for anyone; because doing nothing invites unhealthy thoughts and temptation to creep in. For me, idleness is God's way of reminding me to do something productive, something to make Him smile -- may it be at work or at home.

For this, let us pray. May we strengthen our relationship with God, and learn to seek His wisdom and guidance every time. May we stop worrying, and leave our troubles to God. May we also learn to keep away from unhealthy things and activities that cloud our minds and weaken our spirits. Pray always.

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Daily Digest #213

You have heard that it was said, "An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth." But I tell you not to resist an evil person. —Matthew 5:38-39

Most broken relationships are caused by pride. Both parties insist on being right. Both are hurt. Both want to get even. Both can't stand each other any longer that they choose to fall apart, not minding other people involved. If these cases do not exist, there wouldn't be divorces, or child custody cases, or even wars. Many get hurt, and usually these are realized after the damage has been done.

But if we learn to humble ourselves, and get our focus back on our main objective -- may it be for marriage, family, children, or friendship -- then we would consider our thoughts before we act or speak. We would be more mindful of what the other would feel, or how our choices would affect those people that matter to us. And we would learn to revive the love we felt over and over, through the passing of time, despite of all the misunderstandings and fights. How peaceful our lives could be if we just learn to get along -- with love, respect and humility.

For this, let us pray. May we grow a heart of patience and understanding. May we learn to forgive each other. May we initiate peace in our homes and be an instrument of God to the people we love, bringing them closer to Him in everything that we do. May we learn to appreciate what we have, and thank God for all our blessings. May we call upon Him when our relationships are being tried and tested. Pray always.

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Daily Digest #212

How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? —Genesis 39:9

We tend to find grey areas in God's absolute rules just to make our choices acceptable to many. And our society has made up numerous "acceptable" rules and concepts that has blurred the border between plain right and wrong. We make the clear unclear, and adjust the border to what we think is more favorable, pleasurable and comfortable. I myself have adapted to most of these "re-defined" rules and concepts in my life. But as my earlier forwarded post stated on what Shakespeare said about the mad pursuit of pleasure -- "past reason hunted, and once had, past reason hated" -- we're only setting a trap for ourselves. We even reason with it, that we ought to learn from experience :D Sometimes we can't help but be rebels, only to crawl back and say "I guess You were right".

For this, let us pray. May we be like Joseph, who saw sin as what it was: a serious offense against the Lord. May we be more concerned about putting a smile on God's face, and not out of mere obligation, but of real love. Pray always. Happy weekend and God bless!

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The Sacrament of Waiting

The English poet John Milton once wrote that those also serve who only stand and wait. I think I would go further and say that those who wait render the highest form of service. Waiting requires more self-discipline, more self control and emotional maturity, more unshakable faith in our cause, more unwavering hope in the future, more sustaining love in our hearts than all the great deeds of derring-do that go by the name of action.

Waiting is a mystery, a natural sacrament of life. There is a meaning hidden in all the times we have to wait. It must be an important mystery because there is so much waiting in our lives.

Everyday is filled with those little moments of waiting, testing our patience and our enrves, schooling us in self control - pasensiya lang. We wait for meals to be served, for a letter to arrive, for a friend to call or show up for a date. We wait in line at cinemas, theaters, and concerts. Our airline terminals, railway stations, and bus depots are great temples of waiting filled with men and women who wait in joy for the arrival of a loved one, or wait in sadness to say goodbye and give the last wave of the hand. We wait for birthdays and vacations. We wait for Christmas. We wait for spring to come or autumn, for the rains to begin or to stop.

And we wait for ourselves to grow from childhood to maturity. We wait for those inner voice that tell us when we are ready for the next step. We wait for graduation, for our first job,our first promotion. We wait for success and recognition. We wait to grow up, to reach the stage where we make our own decisions.

We cannot remove this waiting from our lives. It is part of the tapestry of living, the fabric in which the threads are woven that tell the story of our lives.

Yet current philosophies would have us forget the need to wait. "Grab all the gusto you can get."So reads one of America's great beer advertisements: Get it now. Instant transcendence. Don't wait for anything. Life is short. Eat, drink and be merry because tomorrow you'll die. And so they rationalize us into accepting unlicensed and irresponsible freedom, pre-marital sex and extra-marital affairs. They warn against attachment and commitment, against expecting anything of anybody, or allowing them to expect anything of us. They warn us against vows and promises, against duty and responsibility, against dropping any anchors in the currents of our life that will cause us to hold and wait.

This may be the correct prescription for pleasure, but even that is fleeting and doubtful. What was it Shakespeare said about the mad pursuit of pleasure? "Past reason hunted, and once had, past reason hated." No, if we wish to be real human beings, spirit as well as flesh, soul as well as heart, we have to learn to wait. For if we never learn to wait, we'll never learn to love someone other than ourselves.

For, most of all, waiting means waiting for someone else. It is a mystery, brushing by our face everyday like a stray wind or a lead falling from tree. Anyone who has ever loved knows how much waiting goes into it. how much waiting is important for love to grow, to flourish through a lifetime.

Why is this? Why can't we have right now what we so desperately want and need? Why must we wait - two years, three years, fie years - and seemingly waste so much time? You might as well ask why a tree should take so long to bear fruit, the seed to flower, or for carbon to change into diamond.

There is no simple answer, no more than there is to life's other demands - having to say goodbye to someone you love because either you or they have already made other commitments, or because they have to grow and find the meaning of their own lives; having yourself to leave home and loved ones to find your own path. Goodbyes, like waiting, are also sacrament of our lives.

All we know is that growth - the budding, the flowering of love - needs patient waiting, We have to give each other time to grow. There is no way we can make someone else truly love us or we them, except through time. So we give each other the mysterious gift of waiting, of being present without making demands or asking rewards. There is nothing harder to do than this. It truly tests the depth and sincerity of our love. But there is life in the gift we give.

So lovers wait for each other until they can see things the same way or let each other freely see things in quite different ways. There are times when lovers hurt each other and cannot regain the balance and intimacy of the way they were. They have to wait - in silence - but still present to each other until the pain subsides to an ache, and then only a memory and the threads of tapestry can be woven together again ina single love story. What do we lose when we refuse to wait? When we try to find short cuts through life? When we try to incubate love and rush blindly and foolishly into a commitment we are neither mature nor responsible enough to assume? We lose the hope of ever truly loving or being loved. Think of all the great love stories of history and literature. Isn't it of their very essence that they are filled with this strange but common mystery, that waiting is part of the substance, the basic fabric, against which the story of that true love is written?

How can we ever find either life or true love if we are too impatient to wait for it?

from God's Crooked Lines by J.F. Donelan, S.J.


Daily Digest #211

I will run the course of Your commandments, for You shall enlarge my heart. —Psalm 119:32

I have learned to make God's words my refuge in times of loneliness and difficulties. I used to give in to my emotions that I either throw mean things back or isolate myself together with festering grudge. But it became exhausting after a while and realized there must be a better way to react to these situations, like diverting my attention somewhere else.

I believe that God's words can not only be found in the Bible, but are manifested all around us -- the wonders of nature, the kind and friendly people we meet, the help we get from others, the smiles we receive that brighten up our days, the love we feel from our family and loyal friends, etc. Truly, we can see Jesus' face in others if we choose to open up our eyes and widen our view. There's always something good out there. It's all a matter of perspective.

For this, let us pray to God, that He may bless us with eyes to see His good works. May we grow a thirst for wisdom and understanding of a deeper meaning of life. May we make time to open our Bibles and learn more about Him, so as to help us remember what He has done and been doing when we go out and meet the rest of the world, be guided in everything we think, say and do, and glorify His name in the way we live. Pray always. Enjoy your day! God bless!

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Daily Digest #210

Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. —Matthew 10:31

Clearly, each of us is special in God's eyes. Our lives have been mapped out before we were even born, for His purpose. So it's pointless to feel insignificant and take pity on one's self. Imagine the vastness of the universe... how overwhelming it is to realize that God knows each of us, despite of our minuteness! As the Bible says, God knows everything, even the number of strands of hair on our heads. How can we claim that He doesn't hear our cries of help and suffering? Maybe we focus too much on our misfortunes than the overflowing blessings we receive each day.

Let's assess ourselves and try to find out what's been blurring our sight, hardening our hearts or blocking the bridge that builds our relationship with the Lord. Maybe we've been longing for things that are not according to His will, or we've allowed ourselves to be trapped in a loop, believing that there's no way out....

For this, let us pray... May we open our eyes and see God's glory around us. May we be mindful of our thoughts, words and actions, and ask for guidance so they may be according to His will. May we count our blessings more. Pray always.



Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; Be gracious to me and hear my prayer. Psalm 4:1 (NASB)

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Today's guest devotional is provided by Jon Walker

Lord, we're desperate for you. We're bunched up in confusion, moving by impulse and fear, flitting here and there like a frenzied flock caught in the wilderness of the far country.

We are here! We are here! And we know you hear. You've heard us before; you've swept in and saved us from our hopeless paralysis.

Do it again, O, Holy One; how long must we wait?

And we hear you say, "Yes, how long? How long must I wait while you wear my grace and peace like a cheap cloak from a secondhand store?"

Oh God, I hear your heart. You set me apart; yet, I joined the crowd – like birds of a feather.

From now on, Abba, when the swirl and twirl shoves at me, instead of taking to panicked wings; I'll let you quiet my soul.

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Daily Digest #209

I will speak in the anguish of my spirit. —Job 7:11

I believe that prayer is a form of communication between us and God. For me, it's never about the long chants and repetitive lines, but the intention behind it. I, on the other hand, prefer conversing with Him, like talking to my best friend face-to-face. I know He is listening, and He answers my questions in many indescribable ways. He taught me how to ask, and assured me that whatever it was, it was okay.

God encourages us to open up to him, to share our sentiments with Him. He is the greatest listener we can ever have. Most of us who are longing for a trusted and loyal friend can completely rely on Him. He understand all our griefs, and also makes us realize about our shortcomings. He promises a fruitful relationship, where both win. Well, that's not so odd after all. :D

For this, let us pray. May we be honest to God each time we pray. May we not hesitate about anything, and remember that He knows our thoughts even before we speak. May we trust that He listens to every thought and word. May we also open our ears and heart to what He has to say. May we humble ourselves and submit to His will. Pray always.



Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near. Hebrews 10:24-25 (NLT)

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Some of us hesitate to commit ourselves to developing an intentional plan of growth that requires accountability or relationship with others because we believe spiritual growth is a personal and private matter. We choose to believe each person develops in his or her own way at his or her own rate.

This is an aberration from the truth.The idolatry of individualism has influenced even the way we think about spiritual growth.So much of the teaching on spiritual formation is self-centered and self-focused without any reference to our relationship to other Christians.

This is completely unbiblical and ignores much of the New Testament. The truth is that Christians need relationships to grow. We don't grow in isolation from others. We develop in the context of fellowship.

Over and over again in the New Testament we find this basic truth: Believers need relationships with each other to grow! Hebrews 10:24-25 says, "Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another …" (NIV).

God intends for us to grow up in a family.

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Daily Digest #208

Jesus said to him, "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise." —Luke 23:43

I hope you're doing great today. I just got back from Chiang Mai! It was a great privilege to praise and worship God with a huge Christian community up north (the size was unbelievable, considering Thailand is a Buddhist country) AND Hillsong Australia as our worship leader! :D

Joyce Meyer, who led the conference and night crusade in Chiang Mai, made her testimony on God's power and love in her life. Like most of us, she has gone through a lot, and the more her situation and choices led her farther away from God, the clearer she realized her calling for His purpose. She talked about how fear stops us to do what we are called to do in our everyday lives, that we may all be walking round and round the same circle, always hoping for something or someone to pull us out but never really doing anything about it (read John 5:1-14, re The Healing at the Pool). I was also reminded of the verse 2 Timothy 1:7: For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. God uses our weaknesses -- they serve as a bridge between ourselves and Him, so that we may build a closer relationship with God through His son Jesus Christ.

For this, let us pray. May we not let fear rule our lives. May we look up to God and believe that we are special, and loved, and here for His purpose. May we start the day with thanks and praise, and glorify His name in everything that we do. May we truly believe that nothing is impossible with God. May we open our eyes, mind and heart to all opportunities of knowing and serving Him. May we not worry ourselves with what we don't have, focus on our own blessings and use them for His glory. May we not waste any more time, seeking help and love and comfort in the wrong places. God is here, arms wide open, saying "I love you". Pray always.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

You'll Come

I have decided, I have resolved
To wait upon You, Lord
My Rock and Redeemer, shield and reward
I'll wait upon You, Lord

As surely as the sun will rise
You'll come to us
As certain as the dawn appears

You'll come, let Your glory fall
As You respond to us
Spirit, rain, flood into our thirsty hearts again
You'll come, You'll come....

We are not shaken, we are not moved
We wait upon You, Lord
Mighty Deliverer, Triumph and Truth
We wait upon You, Lord

As surely as the sun will rise
You'll come to us
Certain as Your word endures

Chains be broken
Lives be healed
Eyes be opened
Christ is revealed

Words and Music by Brooke Fraser (inspired by Hosea 6) © Hillsong 2007

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Reminders for 2009

Be kinder than necessary.
Everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

A sharp tongue can cut my own throat.

If I want my dreams to come true, I mustn't oversleep.

Of all the things I wear, my expression is the most important.

The best vitamin for making friends..... B1.

The happiness of my life depends on the quality of my thoughts.

The heaviest thing I can carry is a grudge.

One thing I can give and still my word.

If I lack the courage to start, I have already finished.
One thing I can't recycle is wasted time.

Ideas won't work unless I do.

My mind is like a parachute... it functions only when open.

The 10 commandments are not a multiple choice.

The pursuit of happiness is the chase of a lifetime!
It is never too late to become what I might have been.

Life is too short to wake up with regrets.

So love the people who treat you right...
Forget about the one's who don't.

Believe everything happens for a reason.

If you get a second chance, grab it with both hands.
If it changes your life, let it.

Nobody said life would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.


Daily Digest #207

These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings. —Revelation 17:14

Allow me to share another enlightening article from the Purpose Driven life as additional reading to reflect on. May we gain wisdom and faith. Pray always.

"And Hezekiah prayed to the LORD: "O LORD, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you alone are God over all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth." (2 Kings 19:15, NIV)

God becomes real in your life only when you submit to his sovereignty.

Sovereignty simply means God is in control, and that he has the right to be in control. Regardless of what you believe, the truth remains – God has been and always will be in control. He rules from his heavenly throne, the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8).

It's essential that you understand God's sovereignty as you move forward faithfully; otherwise, you won't be able to see the hand of God working actively through the details of your life (Romans 8:28). You're likely to become overwhelmed by the immensity of the task before you and soon you'll be plagued by worry, doubt, and fatigue. By understanding his sovereignty, you'll readily remember that God goes before you and God comes behind you as you faithfully serve him.

You may feel inadequate in your walk with Christ, but God created you for just this very moment, and he believes in you. He is able to take what you give and use it for his glory, andhe is able to handle any of your problems or concerns: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him …" (1 Corinthians 2:9).

Why is this important?

· God is sovereign -- and that means he's capable of providing for your every need. If you don't trust that, ask God to show you why? I believe, Lord; help my unbelief.

· God's greatness – Focus on God's sovereignty by remembering his greatness. We have a tendency to maximize our problems and minimize God's greatness. But when we do that, we also minimize - in our minds - God's ability to handle any problem. Instead, praise God for his greatness.

· When you pray, praise God. Begin your prayers by acknowledging God's sovereignty. You could start by quoting I Chronicles 29:11, "Everything in the heavens and earth is yours, O Lord, and this is your kingdom. We adore you as being in control of everything." As you get to know God, you can add other praises related to his power, his goodness, and his faithfulness.

· Hezekiah's Prayer -- When the city of Jerusalem faced certain destruction from an advancing army, Hezekiah, the king of Israel, sought God in prayer -- but instead of starting off with the problem of Jerusalem's imminent destruction, he first praised God and acknowledged God's sovereignty: "God, God of Israel, seated in majesty on the cherubim-throne. You are the one and only God, sovereign over all kingdoms on earth, maker of heaven, maker of earth …." (2 Kings 19:15-16). You can find out how God answered Hezekiah's prayer by reading 2 Kings 19:20-35.

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Daily Digest #206

Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right? —Genesis 18:25

Judgment is something I have been exercising frequently in my life. Not only do I pass judgment on others sometimes, but I also act with indifference or harshness when I "believe" they deserve it. But usually, I feel these things not out of righteousness but simply because they make me uncomfortable. ... I forget that sometimes, it's better to be kind than to be right. I forget that the task is not mine, but God's. And I forget to pray, to lift my complains to God and let Him handle the rest.

Many times has God aided to my pleas whenever I asked. He brought justice into situations that seemed hopeless to me. I have yearned for revenge a couple of times, but He had ways to hold me back and make me think before I acted. Even when I asked Him "why" with remorse, He answered them and it humbled me.

I realized yet again that no matter what situation we're in, we always have the choice -- to love or not to love. I figured it's our only task. For this, let us pray. May we learn to submit ourselves to God, and trust that He gives justice in His way and in His time. May we be humble servants, living each day with thanks and praise. May our lives be a reflection of His love. Pray always.

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Daily Digest #205

Unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. —Matthew 18:3

Do you ever wonder why you end up more tired and confused every time you try to deal certain things on your own? Don't you feel the burden more when you focus on your misfortunes? Do you even ask instead of attempt to answer every single question that's been bothering you?

These are several questions I often ask myself when my thoughts wander during times of trial or idleness. It all boils down to one.... God is simply telling me to slow down or get up, and revive my childlike heart. Somewhere along my train of thoughts, He makes me realize that I don't know everything, that I need a Higher Power to answer my queries. He helps me remember that although my journey is unique, His love will be the same no matter which path I choose. Contentment and comfort follows. How simple life can truly be if only we believe.

We may be disillusioned by culture, society, pain, or peer pressure, but God's love and mercy are far greater than any barrier that could ever block His way into our hearts. For this, let us pray. May we allow God to heal our wounds and purify our hearts. May we learn to call upon His name and admit that we are not kings and queens of the universe. May we humble ourselves and have faith like a child. Pray always.

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Margin or Margin-less

God, listen to me shout, bend an ear to my prayer… You've always given me breathing room, a place to get away from it all. Psalm 61:1, 3 (MSG)

*** *** *** ***

A lot of people are on overload and headed for a crash. Consider these statistics:

· People now sleep 2½ fewer hours each night than people did a hundred years ago.

· The average work week is longer now than it was in the 1960s.

· The average office worker has 36 hours of work piled up on his or her desk. It takes us three hours a week just to sort through it and find what we need.

· We spend eight months of our lives opening junk mail, two years of our lives playing phone tag with people, and five years waiting for people who are late for meetings.

At least in the U.S., we're a piled-on, stretched-to- the limit society that is chronically rushed, chronically late, and chronically exhausted. Many of us feel like Job did when he said, "I have no peace! I have no quiet! I have no rest! And trouble keeps coming" (Job 3:26 GWT).

Overload comes when we have too much activity in our lives, too much change, too many choices, too much work, too much debt, too much media exposure.

We're stressed by information overload; we're stressed by accessibility overload – we're connected all the time. Simply put, we're stressed by the pace of life.

Is there a solution? Yes. The solution is to put some margin into your life. Margin is breathing room. It's keeping a little reserve that you're not using up. It's not going from one meeting to the next to the next with no space in between.

Margin is the space betweenyour load and yourlimit. But most of us are far more overloaded than we can handle, and there is no margin for error in our lives.

Dr. Richard Swenson, MD says this: "The conditions of modern day living devour margin. If you're homeless we direct you to a shelter. If you're penniless we offer you food stamps. If you're breathless we connect you to oxygen. But if you're marginless we give you one more thing to do. Marginless is being 30 minutes late to the doctor's office because you were 20 minutes late getting out of the hairdresser because you were 10 minutes late dropping the children off at school because the car ran out of gas two blocks from a gas station and you forgot your purse. That's marginless.

Margin, on the other hand, is having breath at the top of the staircase, money at the end of the month, and sanity left over at the end of adolescence. Margin is grandma taking the baby for the afternoon. Margin is having a friend help carry the burden.

Marginless is not having time to finish the book you're reading on stress. Margin is having the time to read it twice. Marginless is our culture. Margin is counter-culture, having some space in your life and schedule. Marginless is the disease of our decade and margin is the cure."

Tomorrow we'll look at four benefits of building margin into our lives.


Daily Digest #204

He who restrains his lips is wise. —Proverbs 10:19

My apologies for the lack of post, I was out of the country for the holidays, as most of you know. I spent a week in the remote, yet magnificent, land of Laos :D

Wow, it's almost a year since I posted my very first Daily Digest online! 2008 had been a very blessed year -- numerous lessons learned, countless surprises realized and gifts received. I wish that 2009 would be a much better year for each of us.

Here's the scripture verses from Proverbs 10, as indicated above:

Proverbs 10:11-21

11 The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life,
but violence overwhelms the mouth of the wicked.

12 Hatred stirs up dissension,
but love covers over all wrongs.

13 Wisdom is found on the lips of the discerning,
but a rod is for the back of him who lacks judgment.

14 Wise men store up knowledge,
but the mouth of a fool invites ruin.

15 The wealth of the rich is their fortified city,
but poverty is the ruin of the poor.

16 The wages of the righteous bring them life,
but the income of the wicked brings them punishment.

17 He who heeds discipline shows the way to life,
but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.

18 He who conceals his hatred has lying lips,
and whoever spreads slander is a fool.

19 When words are many, sin is not absent,
but he who holds his tongue is wise.

20 The tongue of the righteous is choice silver,
but the heart of the wicked is of little value.

21 The lips of the righteous nourish many,
but fools die for lack of judgment.

Looking back at the 203 entries I have written over the past year, I have reflected a lot about tact, a subject/character I realize to be of great importance to me. Sometimes, when we are surrounded by friends whom we have grown to love and be comfortable with, this is one thing that we usually take for granted. We forget to tame our tongues, believing that our friends know us more, and would understand. We joke about different things, often going beyond boundaries, hitting others below the belt. I, myself, am guilty of this, and I am sorry if I have made you feel bad in any way.

But the real point is, whatever we say may have long-term consequences. There's a saying that goes "a person may forget who you are or what you did, but he/she will never forget how you made him/her feel". We may make others feel good or bad without knowing it.

For this, let us pray. May we be more sensible this year. May we develop forgiveness, and at the same time, a heart of repentance. May we tame our tongues, and learn to speak of goodness and wisdom instead. Pray always.

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