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!

THE GREAT JOY OF THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION

I went to confession yesterday. I came out of the confessional with inexplicable joy. 

It’s not like it’s my first time to go to confession. But the “moment” after confession came as a surprise when I felt the Holy Spirit leading me to thank God that I am Catholic and that we have the Sacrament of Reconciliation. 

Now I don’t say this to spite my friends from other Christian denominations. In fact, I respect and appreciate what God has given them in their own churches. But I just can’t shake the thought of how blessed we are as well that we are Catholic because of this amazing Sacrament that brings so much joy…

It is one thing to feel remorse for your sin, but it is great joy to be able to express it.

It is one thing to express remorse for your sin, but is great joy to for someone to hear it.

It is one thing for someone to hear your remorse, but it is great joy for someone tell you that God understands.

It is one thing to hear from someone that God understands, but it is great joy for that someone to tell you that God also has forgiven.

It is one thing to hear that God has forgiven you, but is great joy when you realize that this one act has made you completely right again with God.

It is one thing to made right again with God but it is great joy to be able to trace the binding power of the priest’s forgiveness to Christ’s pronouncement to our first Pope Peter in scriptures.

It is one thing to receive binding forgiveness directly from Christ, it is great joy that along with this forgiveness also comes great power directly from Christ’s Spirit to do better this time around.

That I am forgiven. That I am made right. That the binding power of the priest’s forgiveness has been handed down directly from our Lord. That this binding forgiveness is accompanied with great power that likewise comes from Christ’s Spirit.

That I can start afresh again with Him.

That, my dear friends, is simply great joy!

Have a blessed week ahead!

YOUR GOD IS YOUR DAD

The beautiful noonday sun shone brightly that day as I lazily stretched out under the overarching canopy of trees along the mesmerizing Boracay shoreline. Ahhh! What an incredible sight! Jeng, my wife, was enjoying her swim. I was enjoying well… just doing nothing.

Then my thoughts turned to the profound. 

I asked myself, “How can a missionary couple like Jeng and myself enjoy such pleasures in life?”

Without expecting it, I received an answer. In the deepest recesses of my heart came a soothing and all-loving voice, “Because I am your Dad.”

DAD. That word carries with it an avalanche of consoling truths and comforting emotions.

Dad means strength.
Dad means consolation.
Dad means security.
Dad means assurance.
Dad means safety.
Dad means comfort.
Dad means honor.
Dad means love.

No wonder a not-so-rich missionary like myself is treated to such royalty vacations and above-average luxuries.

My God is my Dad.

The Bible says:

“But my God shall supply all your need, according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Phillipians 4:19)

The one who truly owns, not just the Boracay seas, but the entire universe is looking after me. He knows I need to rest. He knows I need recuperation. He knows I need to recharge.

Ever wonder if you can make it through your week with your tight budget? Or find the strength to recover from your illness? Or overcome that sin? Or win over that stressful situation?

Think about your Dad.

He is not asleep. He is not having a day-off. He is in control. 

And He will supply your needs according to his riches in glory.

Yes, even as you relax by the Boracay seas!