In the Moment

I clasped my 4 year old Franco in my arms at the break of dawn today. He woke up ahead of his siblings and went up to our third floor study where I was having my prayer time. Seeing him up so early, I decided to spend some time with him. I lifted him in my arms as he rested his sleepy head on my shoulders.

That was when “the moment” came.

Accompanied only by the occasional noises of some distant cricket, the silence enveloped our tight embrace. In the silence, our hearts spoke so loudly as his chest rested on mine. Son to father. Boy to dad. Heart to heart…

It was then when I knew once more what “moments” are…

When silence speaks volumes of comprehensible words, and heartbeats convey torrents of unspeakable emotions.

When words are not necessary, and presence is more than enough.

When lingering in the silence meant hearing more of what truly matters.

When savouring the instant makes the eternal more relevant.

When your miniscule existence is atomized yet made significant by the immensity of what matters most in life.

Franco needn’t talk. I needn’t speak.

But it was our silence which made the moment. For without it, life, in all its busyness could have automatically muffled the voice of love which reverberated so significantly from our hearts.

“The moment” is also true when it comes to prayer.

Sometimes, prayer needs no words.

Oftentimes, it means just sitting quietly in a corner and being with God.

Scriptures says:

“in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11)

Prayer is being in God’s presence.

In his embrace. Heartbeat to heartbeat. Heart to heart.

You need not be fluent or articulate or poetic.

You need only to be there.

In “the moment”.

Pain in the Neck

I was recently diagnosed to have “cervical spondylosis”.

Scary medical term, huh?

It only means though that I have arthritis of the neck, at least that’s how my good doctor explained it to me — that my neck is older than my age. Without proper care of the neck, the painful sensation can radiate from my neck down to my arms. Quite painful, to be honest, when it is at its peak like say two weeks ago when I was rushed to the emergency room of a nearby hospital.

Now, two weeks later, and feeling much, much better, I got a chance to reflect and see my situation through my spiritual lenses.

My lifelong burden is basically a “pain in neck”, in both the literal and figurative sense. No more carrying of heavy stuff. No more random sleep posture at night. No more playing basketball. Quite a burden to carry for the rest of my life, don’t you think so?

Well, not until you see it from the perspective of Someone who carried something on his back in worse circumstances.

Compared to His burden which broke his spine, my burden only scarred a portion of mine.

I caused my burden, He didn’t cause His.
Mine was a pinch while His was a punch.
Mine can be relieved by medication while His can be relieved only by crucifixion.
Mine can be eased by therapy while His can be eased only by death.

And here’s the clincher: His burden was for my salvation.

Could I not then at least share in His burden by offering my pain for the salvation of others?

Everytime the shooting pain radiates from the neck to the arm, let it be for that lonely man behind bars who misses his family day after day.

Everytime the discomfort comes at night, let it be for that woman trapped in that marriage with that violent man.

Everytime a wrong posture hurts, let it be for that troubled young man hooked into drugs.

How about you? Are you going through some kind of physical or emotional pain now? Use it well. Offer it for the salvation of souls. Let it be your humble share in the salvific act of Christ.

Let your every pain, discomfort, irritation, and burden this week echo so loudly in eternity with every soul saved.

As for me, the pain in my neck will always serve as a reminder that my sins dealt the pain on the neck of my Savior.

The least I can do is share in that pain…even just a little and even just for a little while.

Have a blessed week ahead!

*————————–*
P.S. Thanks for all those who have been praying for me! I am getting better by the day!

Just Like Before

I miss those days when my faith was simpler and less complicated…

When listening to talks were more often than giving them;
When serving God was measured not so much by how people responded to my service but by how I responded to God;
When worship was something I simply enjoyed, not something I lead;
When all fellowship needed in order to happen was fun, not funds;
When praying was a choice gladly made not a chore sometimes merely complied with.

Don’t get me wrong.

Being a Christian leader nowadays is indescribably amazing. But once in a while, it’s good to recall what it means to just be simple Christian madly in love with his God.

Just like before.

An Honoring for My Wife

TO THE WOMAN WHO:

Accepted my past;
Overlooked my flaws;
Gave wisdom to my follies;
Provides direction when I’m lost.

Gave meaning to my confusion;
Gave hope in my despair;
Gave me wings so I can fly:
Gave me comfort when I cry.

Loved me in my worst;
Loved me in my best;
Loved me today;
Love me tomorrow;
Will love me until the end;
Through each of life’s joy and sorrow.

Happy birthday to my dear wife, Jeng!

 

Let God Use You Today!

God can use the worst in us to bring out the best in every situation.

God used Moses, a murderer, to bring life to a dying race.
God used Jonah, a stubborn prophet, to bring a whole town to obedience.
God used Gideon, an insecure leader, to bring security to His people.
God used David, a man who succumbed to the desires of his flesh, to lead a nation to follow the desires of God’s Spirit.
God used Peter, an impulsive and weak disciple, to establish a stable and strong church.
God used Paul, a judgmental Pharisee, to bring God’s mercy to all the world.

When they turned to Him, He turned them around.

From curses to blessings. From garbage to gold. From nuisance to significance.

If God used them, what makes you think God can’t use you?

Let God use you today!

Little Act, Big Impact

Every little thing, when done with God, can produce big results…

A little pebble struck down a giant in Goliath.
A little staff parted the Red Sea.
A little faith in Abraham produced descendants as numerous as the stars.
A little conviction led Nehemiah to rebuild the mighty walls of Jerusalem.
A little bread and fish fed thousands.
A little-known carpenter changed the world.

If you think you’re little, then rejoice!

You are big in God’s plans!

So keep praying. Keep loving. Keep serving.

Every little act, if done with God, will surely result in a big impact!

He is Here

I woke up on the morning of Father’s Day with only one thought as in years past: I have to greet my father. 

And then it hit me: My earthly father is no longer around…for the very first time in all my 41 years.

I can’t text or call him anymore. I can no longer treat him out to his favorite Max’s Restaurant. I can’t watch PBA games with him anymore.

He’s gone and there is nothing I can do to bring him back.

I woke up sluggishly that day. I crawled my way out of the bed and dragged myself to the showers. I climbed the stairs to the session hall with lead-heavy legs and worked my way to preach that morning. Several times during my talk, I had to catch myself and hold back my tears. Father’s Day is just not Father’s Day without Papang. It’s just not the same.

The 2 hour drive that afternoon from Tagaytay to Manila was no different. The beautiful scenery of the Sta. Rosa roads didn’t bring much comfort and instead, only amplified the emptiness of not having Papang on Father’s Day.

And then I arrived home.

The moment I entered our living room, my family, all five of them including my wife Jeng, greeted me excitedly and joyously. Kisses. Hugs. A song number. Celebrating mass with them. Then pizza at our favorite family place, Shakeys.

Just before I retired to bed that night, when all of them were already asleep, I caught a glimpse of myself on our full length mirror. There, before me stood a man I barely recognized. Familiar yet different. The squint of his eyes. The curl of his lips. The hunch on those shoulders. The tilt of his stand.

There he is. My dad. My Papang.

His spirit lives in me. His values dwell in my heart. His words embedded in my mind.His strength emanating from my being. 

Papang isn’t gone.

He is here.

And for as long as I strive to live my life in honor of my father, I know he will always be.

Have a blessed Father’s Day to all my fellow dads out there!