The Deception

“I am not religious but spiritual.”

We often hear this statement uttered by many young people today. And they say this with a certain smugness as if they just discovered something new that others haven’t in the past. They say this with a kind of pride as if they are more “enlightened” than their more closed-minded ancestors. They strut with this belief in tow as if announcing to the world about the dawning of a new era of a more progressive kind of spirituality.

Little do they know that they have fallen yet again to an age-old lie…

It all began in a garden called Eden where a serpent told a couple that they can be “gods” if they eat of the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil…

It was the motivating force in the construction of the tower in Babel as part of man’s  attempt to reach the stature of “god”.

It was Pharaoh’s stubborn enchantment of numerous gods without regard for human suffering…

It was Caesar’s quest of divine supremacy in the guise of a universal empire…

It is extreme materialism which aimed to place money on a pedestal at the expense of relationships.

It is liberalism without restraint that promises anarchy in the guise of total freedom.

It is the “higher-mind” movement that tells you that we can all be gods by sheer development of the mind and oneness with the universe.

It is the alleged “free thinker” who believes in anything for as long as he does not hurt others.

It is “relativism” that makes one his own judge of what is right or wrong.

The strategy has changed over the years but the lie remains the same: You can be your own “god”.

No limits. No rules. No borders.

You are the master of your own destiny, king of your own kingdom, the champion of your own cause, and the minister of your own beliefs.

It strives to tell you what Christ has often preached against — that your life is all about YOU!

If Satan cannot force you to hate God, he can force you to love yourself more.

If Satan cannot force you not to believe God, he can force you at least not to seriously believe in anything.

If Satan cannot force you to disobey God, he can at least force you to ignore Him by reducing Him from a personal friend to an impersonal “force”.

Today, look at your family and friends. Who among them subscribe to this “deception”?

Pray for them. Utter their names before God. Do battle on their behalf. 

Always remember that such thinking, while seemingly harmless, is not a mere product of human logic, but a carefully re-packaged lie uttered down the centuries that has misled a million lives and has held captive countless souls.

The Bible states:

“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.’…” (John 14:6)

Not mind transcending methods. Not free thinking. Not some impersonal universal force.

But Jesus — personal, loving and true.

Mark this down: What they call “New Age” isn’t so new after all.

It is an age-old lie simply called “The Deception”.

Yours, in Christ,

Bobby Quitain

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Adversaries for a While, Brothers Forever!

We belong to the same Catholic community. We serve together. We pray together. He is my kumpadre, godfather to my child and I, a godfather to his. A friend. A fellow servant of Christ. A brother forever.

This can be said as a matter of fact without eliciting any kind of reaction. Unless you knew us both way back in the early 1990’s.

Flashback UP days…

Cris Hilario and Bobby Quitain shared nothing in common except the roof on their heads — Kalayaan Freshman Dormitory. Poles apart in terms of political ideologies, we rarely see things from the same perspective. He was from Luzon, I was from Mindanao. He was idealistic, I was ambitious. He was fighting for the masses, I was fighting for a slot with the UP Basketball team. He was part of one fraternity, I belong to another. In terms of politics, he didn’t like the status quo while I fought to preserve it. He was angry with the system, and I was loving it.

Then the incident happened…

A misunderstanding. A conflict. The gap between us widened. If before we were civil towards each other, now we abhorred even just the sight of the other. Graduation didn’t temper our emotions. It served to stir them all the more.

But nothing is impossible with God…

He came into our lives and swept us off our feet. He came barging in, first in my life, and years later, in his. We were changed. Our hearts melted as we came face to face with His unconditional love. And confronted with such kind of love, one cannot help but love in return. 

This unseen yet personal force somehow arranged our circumstances so that on one Holy Week in the mid 1990’s, our paths crossed once more. While we still harboured some kind of resentment in our hearts, we felt compelled somehow by our experience of God to consider forgiveness. This time, we shared a table. This time, we prayed together. This time, we tried to see where the other was coming from.

Then we shook hands. Nay, we embraced as brothers, brothers in Christ.

Today, after serving side by side for many years now and fighting countless spiritual battles together, I thank God for my brother, Cris Hilario. A true man of God. A great servant of the King. Still a fighter. Still idealistic. Still dissatisfied with the status quo.
But all because of His love for the Man on the Cross!

Now that we have both reached forty years this year, my friend, I want you to know how blessed and honoured I am to have known you, then and now. Our story is a testament of what God’s intervention can do in the lives of those who allow Him to.

Truly, you are my adversary for awhile but undoubtedly my brother forever! 

Happy fortieth birthday, Kumpadre!

Your brother in Christ,

Bobby Quitain

A Thought About Miscommunication

A man once called the emergency line of a hospital…

Man: Nurse, please send an ambulance. My wife is about to give birth.
Nurse: Is this her first baby?
Man: No, this is her husband.

MISCOMMUNICATION.

How often are we victimized by this scoundrel? It happens in our marriages, work places, friendships and even in churches. It breaks agreements as well as hearts. It clouds reason and encourages insensitivity. It slithers its way into our boardrooms as well as our bedrooms.

In recent years, I realized that many disagreements and broken relationships are not brought about by malicious intents but simply by a breakdown in communication. Miscommunication brings about wrong presumptions and undeserved expectations.

What worked for me is this: Whenever I get offended or slighted by what seemed to me like an unfair situation, I decide to pause and try to see the other from God’s eyes. 

“Surely, he didn’t mean it.” I tell myself. “He always had a good heart. There must be some miscommunication somewhere… “.

Today, take a good look at your relationships. Are there any relationships that need some mending? Are there issues that need some clarification? Are there situations that would need some closure?

Decide to take steps this week to bridge some gaps by communicating. Really communicating. Without pretension. Without judging. Without prejudice. Just talking from the heart. And when we do, say a prayer that the Holy Spirit will take over and take it from there for you.

Peace, my friend!

Bobby Quitain

Freed for His Purpose

“…And someone came and told them, ‘The men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people.’…” (Acts 5:25)

When God miraculously freed the apostles from prison, the apostles had two options: they could have gone home to live ordinary lives, or they could have trekked to the temple and preached God’s Word. They could have squandered their freedom or they could have walked out of their cells to fulfil God’s mission for them. They chose the latter. And as they preached at the temple, so many people were blessed that day.

We are daily confronted with a similar choice.

God will give us the grace to be free of the many bondages of life, from our addictions, prejudices and anxieties, but we still have the choice if we cooperate with His grace or not. God will arrange for your freedom but you still have the option on how you will use your freedom. Mark this down, once you surrender everything to God, His grace will begin to work in and through you. Opportunities will beckon, people will offer to help, and invitations for the deepening of your faith will follow you. You can either embrace these circumstances or turn away from them.

Remember this: nothing and no one can prevent the fulfilment of God’s great plans for your life…except you.

Some weeks back, I preached before more than 200 plus inmates of our Maximum Security Prison. Among the many surprises for me that day was the surprise I got from what I saw on the faces of those who attended my preaching. PEACE! Evident from their smiles, handshakes and affirming words was the undeniable peace in their hearts. In the midst of their confinement, many of the prisoners have chosen freedom. God has given them the grace to see hope in the face of despair, joy in the face of suffering and love in the face of hate. This proves one thing to me: There are many people who are physically free but by their choices are actually confined to prison while many of those in prison are in physical bondage but by their choices have actually chosen to live free.

The greatest stumbling block to God’s purposes for your life is you. God will give you “freedom” but it’s up to you if you will truly live free!

– Bobby Quitain

Boldness in Trying New Things

We often hear the phrase uttered: 

“But we’ve always done it this way…”.

This can be true in business, marriage, church, and in almost any aspect of life. Phrases like this while often spoken from a sincere heart, can be very limiting and sometimes, even discouraging. 

It discourages creativity and innovation. 
It grounds a dream just before it takes off. 
It seals one’s fate even before it can unfold. 
It strangles an idea even before it can be expressed.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not encouraging reckless abandonment of good traditional practices and the more I don’t promote the acceptance of just about any innovation.

What I caution against is the close-mindedness to new ideas just because it is not what we are accustomed to. Somebody once said that the height of stupidity is to keep doing the same things and expecting a different result.

In today’s gospel, Jesus exhorts the tired and exhausted apostles to try “casting the net to the right side of the boat”. (Perhaps most of the night the apostles were trying to fish on the left side of the boat.) And when they did, voila! 

“He said to them, ‘Cast the net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some.’ So they cast it, and now they were not able to haul it in, for the quantity of fish.” (John 21:6)

Today, I encourage you not to be afraid to innovate in your life. Pray, dream and aim for new things. God has given us a mind not to be closed but to be opened to His daily inspiration.

Be bold, my friend! New things are just waiting to be discovered and greater dreams waiting to fulfilled in your life today!

Yours, in Christ,

Bobby Quitain