A Litany of Blessings

“…The mighty one has done great things for me…” (Luke 1:49)

I smiled and I sighed.

I couldn’t help doing so as I watched my kids frolicked in the cool waters of Caylabne Resort in Cavite a few days ago during our annual family vacation. Their eyes glistened with joy while my eyes moistened with gratitude. And as they immersed themselves in childhood play, I in turn, immersed myself in deep prayer.

“God,” I said “I am profoundly grateful for everything. You have indeed filled my cup to overflowing. You have given me a beautiful family. A loving wife. Healthy children. A supportive Christian community. A thriving preaching ministry. Wonderful Christian brethren. Loving friends. Food, clothing, shelter. And most of all, ongoing daily mercy for all my faults.”

And as I went on with my litany of undeserved blessings, I found myself joining Mother Mary in her “Magnificat” when she sang:

“…The mighty one has done great things for me…” (Luke 1:49)

Don’t get me wrong. My life isn’t perfect. But I have to admit, it is undoubtedly blessed.

No, my health isn’t perfect. I suffer from occasional vertigo when stressed. My cholesterol count is also not very promising. I have a bad knee and I snore when I sleep. But God has made everything bearable for me (and for my wife as she has to put up with my snoring!) to carry on with my mission and enjoy life in the process.

I am not yet considered successful in my career, both as a lawyer and as a preacher. But God has made it clear to me with occasional reminders that I am on the right path. And the reminders have come in different forms…a young lawyer approaching me with gratitude for the “life-changing” seminar I just gave…a text message telling me how my preaching has transformed a person’s perspective of his life…an email thanking me for saving the desperate life of another person through my books.  With my puny efforts, God has indeed produced colossal results. 

I am not rich. I still have bills to pay and obligations to meet. But I have more than enough of what my family needs. Take that family vacation last week, for example. Considering my not-so-spectacular monthly income, who could imagine a preacher’s family of five taking on a three-day family vacation free of charge in plush Caylabne Resort? 

Having said all these, the more I feel humbled by the overwhelming love of my God for me. I am a sinner saved. I am a convict acquitted. I am a pauper blessed.

Indeed, the Mighty One has done great things for me!

Bobby Q.

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I go for Alex Lacson

“…because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you…” (John 15:19)

There will be many who deserve to win in this Monday’s election but who may not. One of them is Atty. Alexander Lacson, a good friend, senatorial candidate under the Liberal Party.

The first time I met Alex was when we were both guest speakers in an event for the scholars of Metrobank Foundation. From that day onwards, my liking and admiration for this man began to grow. What struck me most about Alex was not his exceptional writing ability. Nor his inspiring public speaking skills. Not even his obvious patriotism. Towering above all these is one trait that sets the man apart from many successful people I know: Humility.

Here was a man who, despite his many skills and abilities, remained rooted in his values. Not one to brag about his achievements, Alex quietly works to make his beloved country a better place.

Alex and I share the same passion: to see transformation in the Philippine society. We both do it the same way. We do it with our mouths and with our pens. And now, as he has embarked on a journey in an arena I dare not tread, Alex has taken the fight a step further. He now seeks to transform, not only the minds and hearts of his countrymen, but also the very structure which impedes and obstructs the desired transformation that he envisions for his beloved nation.

I texted Alex some weeks back at the start of his campaign to encourage him. His reply was classic Alex: Bro, pray for me in this journey that I have chosen.

Yes, I pray for Alex. For when one decides to go against the tide, the tide will threaten to swallow him. People will hate him for what he stands for. His integrity. His passion. His honesty. His closeness to God. The words of scripture today is strikingly relevant:

“…because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you…” (John 15:19)

Yes, there will be many who deserve to win in this Monday’s election but who may not…not unless we do something about it.

And so I call on all Filipino readers of this blog. Those who believe in having moral leaders take on the helm of this country. Those who believe in the importance of both competence and character in a public servant. Those who believe in the true essence of selfless service and genuine servanthood.

I call on all of you now to vote only for those candidates who truly deserve your precious votes. Give your trust to those who sincerely want change. Those who are honest. Those who are competent. Those who are humble. Those whose lives, more than their mouths, speak of the changes they envision. 

And through your precious vote, the deserving, in the eyes of God, shall surely win.

Bracing myself for real transformation this Monday,

Bobby Q.

Yes, you can!

“Just as I loved you, you must also love one another.” (John 13:34) 

Here are some questions lawyers ask their witnesses during trial:

“Where were you when you died?”

“How far was your car when you bumped his car?”

“You told us that you forgot what happened. Can you recall how that could happen?

“When did you you have a relationship with this woman? Before or after she died?”

“You described the accused as medium height and with a beard. Was this a man or a woman?”

Absurd questions that border on the ridiculous.

Sometimes, that’s what I think when somebody asks me the question: “As a Christian, have you loved the way Jesus loved?

Absurd. Ridiculous. Improbable.

For no one could love the way my Savior loved. He was selfless. He was humble. He thought of others before himself. He never sought revenge. He was never vindictive. He didn’t enjoy slandering others. He didn’t laugh at offensive humor. He was compassionate of the poor. He understood the haughty. He was patient with the irritating. He was pure love from start to finish.

I look at my life and I am ashamed.

I am so far from the man I claim to represent as a missionary. I am self-centered, quick-tempered, impatient and sometimes, even arrogant. How can I love the way Jesus loved?

Perhaps you’ve asked yourself this same question when confronted with the gospel today where Jesus said:

“Just as I loved you, you must also love one another.” (John 13:34) 

Absurd. Ridiculous. Improbable. How can humans love the way God loves?

Nowadays, in the Philippines, when a person is asked why he made a mistake or committed a sin, the person usually blurts out a famous Filipino expression: Tao lang! — using his being human as an excuse for bad behavior.

Perhaps that’s precisely why God did what He did 2,000 years ago. We must remember that the Jesus who is asking us to love the way He loves was as human as you and me. He also had tooth aches and perhaps even ingrown toenails. He also had to burp and probably had migraine attacks. And yes, he was tempted the way we are tempted today. Tempted to be arrogant. Tempted to be self-centered. Tempted to be impatient.

But despite all the reasons not to, He still chose the way of love. Even if it hurt. Even it was inconvenient. Even if it led Him to the cross.

Tell me, if somebody asks you for directions going to a certain place and the directions are quite confusing, will you not volunteer to take the person to that place instead to make sure he gets there?

That’s what God did.

He didn’t only tell us how to love. He showed us the way to do so.

Even if human. Even if tempted. Even if afraid. Even if hurting. Jesus, as a human being, showed us the way to love.

Even if struggling. Even if weak. Even if tired. Even if  burdened. We have the capacity to love.

Yes, you can forgive that person who hurt you. You can serve that church member who never even says thanks. You can be patient with that person who makes a hobby out of criticizing everything you do. You can be patient with that boss who gives you unreasonable deadlines. You can die to yourself if only to give life to others.

Yes, Jesus showed us the pathway to love so that we humans will have the courage to walk on it.

A blessed weekend to you, my friend!

Trying hard to love the way my Master loves,

Bobby