Sunday, March 18, 2018

A Clean Heart

“Create in me a clean heart, O God.” Psalm 51:10

In Jeremiah 17:9, the Lord despairs of His people, if that can be said of God. He says the human heart is more tortuous than all else, deceitful and desperately wicked. I can indeed see evidence of this in what is happening around me, in my country, in the world. In Jeremiah 17:4, the Lord says, “The wonderful inheritance I have reserved for you will slip out of your hands, and I will send you away as captives to a foreign land. For you have kindled my anger into a roaring fire that will burn forever.” 

This morning I was watching a Youtube video of one of Mother Teresa’s interviews. What I read in the comment section totally shocked me. People were saying she was a monster, she was no saint, she had millions hidden in bank accounts, she wanted the sick to suffer, etc etc! In the political arena, it is no different. The comments on Facebook posts seem to come from sick, deranged minds. I learned yesterday that a fake news post on a fake news site was shared 10,000 times and the real news post on the real news site was shared 50 times! Why do we prefer to share sensational stories that are untrue? 

Be gracious to us, O God, according to Your lovingkindness. According to the greatness of Your compassion, blot out the stain of our sin. Purify us from our transgressions. Create in us clean hearts, O God. 

Saturday, March 17, 2018


“Have you also been deceived?” 
John 7:47

The Pharisees asked this question of the guards who were supposed to bring Jesus to them. The chief priests and the Pharisees already made up their minds about Jesus without investigating. God wants us to know the truth and He has put so much evidence for us, especially in this age of the internet. So many scholars have done the work for us. 

Some people still believe Jesus did not exist, but there is so much amazing substantiation that proves not only that Jesus existed and was crucified. It is an established historical fact. Even atheist and arch-skeptic historian Gerd Lüdemann admitted that Jesus’ death as a consequence of execution is indisputable. He noted that the elements in the tradition, including the empty tomb, are to be dated to the first 2 years after Jesus’ death on the cross, and certainly not later than 3 years. That is one reason why the empty tomb is not legend or myth. It takes 2 generations before a legend develops. The Christian Creed was put together, and distributed early after Jesus died, was buried and was seen by several eyewitnesses after He rose from the dead. St. Paul was the first to put it in writing about 22 years after the death and resurrection of Christ. The earliest account of Alexander the Great was written 400 years after he died. 

Lüdemann himself decided, “It may be taken as historically certain that Peter and the disciples had experiences after Jesus’s death in which Jesus appeared to them as the risen Christ.” This is because of an overwhelming preponderance of sources inside and outside of the New Testament compared to other historical events. So why would an atheist like Lüdemann, who concluded that it may be taken as historically certain that Jesus appeared as the risen Christ, still stands by his unbelief? 

Lüdemann believes they all were having hallucinations! But psychologists who study the brain say that hallucinations like dreams are individual events happening in individual minds. One psychologist noted that for 500 people to have the same hallucination would be a bigger miracle than the resurrection of Christ!   

So let us not be like Pharisees and skeptics and atheists. The truth can be found if we want to know it. It is awesome to know that God wants us to get to know Him! 

Friday, March 16, 2018


“The Lord is close to the broken hearted...” Psalm 34:18

“...those who are crushed in spirit He saves.” Just yesterday I saw a post on Facebook that I shared. It was about a man who has been missing since Friday, March 9. A week ago.  I am sure it seems so much longer to his family. How many missing people are there in the world? How many children were killed in schools in the past year? How many kidnapped women and children are sold into sexual slavery? How many deal with recurring depression? There is so much heartache in our world, so much sadness and pain. 

What can we do about it? Saint Teresa of Avila wrote this poignant poem: “Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good, Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, Yours are the eyes, you are his body... Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”

We have to look around with Christ’s eyes and love with His love so we can see the broken people around us. We need not be pessimistic or hopeless because God will always make a way where there is no way. God never wastes anything, much less pain. Let us always pray with hope, and do good, remembering that what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory that will be revealed in us (Romans 8:18). 

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Go Ye!

“Go down at once...” Exodus 32:7

Some of the Bible stories are amazing in that men and women like Moses hear God’s instructions. Some people, like a prominent talk show host, think that if you hear God, you are mentally ill!

Just like Moses, the Irish missionary Amy Carmichael heard God tell her, “Go ye!” I suppose it was because ever since she was very young, she would say her prayers before sleeping, she would make a space for the Lord, and ask him to sit beside her. If we do that every day, talk to Jesus, for sure He will converse with us! 

On January 13, 1892, while Amy was praying, she heard the two words, “Go ye!” as clearly as if she heard her mother’s voice. Those instructions from God started her on her missionary journey that took her to India. There, wearing a sari, dyeing her skin brown with coffee, and speaking Tamil, she was unlike any other missionary. She started her own mission house, trusting God for the funds. She saved young girls from what was essentially sex trafficking sanctioned by the parents who would sacrifice the children to the temple, trusting God to keep her out of jail for kidnapping. 

Amy stayed in India for 55 years. Her retreat home for the children and women grew larger and included a school, hospital, and orphanage. Her work in South India continues today, and it all started with Amy’s obedience to God’s Word. 

Lord, here I am! I long to hear Your voice! 

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

WOYWW: The Eternal Truth

I am making a card for a friend who will be leaving for Japan.

I put a quote by Corrie Ten Boom as I have been watching videos about her life and listening to her teachings. Such a remarkable woman!

“I will never forget you!” Isaiah 49:15

“Never!” the Lord says, “Can a mother forget her nursing child, be without tenderness for the child in her womb? Even if that was possible, I would not forget you!” 

When Korea was in the throes of a civil war in 1952, a pregnant young woman struggled through the snow. Poignantly, it was Christmas eve, and no one stopped to help. When she could walk no longer as the contractions became severe, she sheltered under a bridge to give birth to her baby. Then she removed all her clothes to wrap around him, and kept him warm in her arms. 

The next day, a missionary walking in the snow to deliver Christmas packages found her frozen to death, the crying baby in her arms. 10 years later, the boy was told by his adoptive father what happened that night, how his mother gave her life that he might live. 

During Lent, we journey with Jesus to Calvary, where He gave His life that we might live. Because of His blood sacrifice on the Cross, we have a real hope, a real peace, real love, not the counterfeits the world offers. In a world where change is inevitable, let us be sure we know the eternal truth, that God our Father loves us! 

Joining the lovely Julia Dunnit for a 
peek at desks and projects!
I find a lot of inspiration
visiting my friends here:


Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Open My Eyes

“Do you want to be healed?” John 5:6

Crowds of sick people lay on the porches and Jesus asked one man who had been lying there lame for 38 years, “Do you want to be healed?” Instead of shouting yes eagerly, the man complained, “I can’t, sir. I have no one to help me into the pool of water.” This man had an idea already of how God will heal him. He was not open to other possibilities. He lay there, probably in self-pity, thinking he needed someone to help him into the water first when an angel stirred it. 

Lord, help me to open my eyes to the many ways You can bless me. Help me to seek You in circumstances, and in people, that do not seem pleasing to me. Help me to accept everything from You with trust that You always want to best for me! 

Monday, March 12, 2018

City of Joy

“I create Jerusalem to be a joy...” 
Isaiah 65:18

L'Shana Haba'ah B'Yerushalayim“, the Jews pray after Passover or Yom Kippur. It means, “Next year in Jerusalem!” Before, the Jews of the Diaspora would pray this with longing to return to their very own country after having been dispersed. Now “Jerusalem” in this prayer refers to the future city and the Temple that will be rebuilt when the Messiah comes. 

I have been listening to Corrie Ten Boom’s preaching, her stories about Betsie her sister, and the horrors of Ravensbrück. At 85 years old, she needed a pacemaker. She said she would have wanted to go to heaven but apparently God had other plans. After traveling all continents of the world, preaching the good news, starting when she was in her mid-50s, she was able to settle in her very own home with a garden in Placentia, California. God promised her that she would be able to reach more people than she did going from place to place. On April 15, 1983, Corrie Ten Boom passed away on her 91st birthday. Jews believe that only very special, blessed people are given the honor of dying on their birthday.

She is now in Jerusalem, city of joy, city of the living God. One day we may be able to meet her and see her smiling face. But not yet. Right now, we still have work to do- God’s work, just like Corrie, that He has prepared for us to do. 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Everlasting Arms

“God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but to save it.” John 3:17

Many atheists have judged God and found Him wanting, and thus declare He does not exist. There is no God because there is so much suffering in the world. They do not look into their hearts and see that it is us who is wanting. 

Malcolm Muggeridge, a British journalist and Christian convert who wrote some of the most profound books of the 20th C, said, “The depravity of man is at once the most empirically verifiable reality but at the same time the most intellectually resisted fact.” He just echoed what God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah centuries ago, “The heart is more deceitful than anything else, and incurable–who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

Muggeridge wrote of his life changing experience in his book, “The Green Stick: A Chronicle of Wasted Years”. One day when he was a journalist on assignment in India, he decided to take a swim in the river. He noticed a woman upriver remove her clothes and submerge herself to bathe in the water. After deciding to forget his marriage vows, he furiously swam towards her with the intent of seducing her. When he reached about 2 or 3 feet away from her, and emerged from the water, he was horrified to find this creature grinning at him.  “She was old and hideous...and her skin was wrinkled and, worst of all, she was a leper....This creature grinned at me, showing a toothless mask.” He thought trembling with disgust, “What a dirty lecherous woman!” And then he realized with a shock- it was not the woman who was lecherous; it was his own heart! 

How merciful is our Father that He loves us so much that He sent His Son not to condemn us for this lecherous, treacherous, disobedient heart, but to save us for His everlasting arms! 

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Walk in My Way

“Walk in the ways I command you, so that you may prosper.” Jeremiah 7:23

If we read the whole 7th chapter of Jeremiah, we will see how frustrated God was with the disobedience of the Jews. “Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and worship other gods, and then come here and stand before Me in My Temple, ...only to go right back to all those evils again?” (V.9-10)

God said, “Obey me and I will be Your God and You will be my people. Walk in all the ways that I command you, so that you may prosper.” But His people did not listen to Him then and it is clear we are not listening now. 

“My people do not listen to me. You keep doing whatever you want , following the stubborn desires of your evil hearts. You turn your backs, not your faces to me. I have sent you untiringly all my servants, the prophets, but you have not heeded their words....This is a nation that does not listen to Me or take correction. Faithfulness has disappeared. Truth itself has banished from your speech.” (V.24-28)

Although this was written in the 6th century B.C., it seems to me as if God is speaking to us today. Jeremiah is one of the well-known prophets of the Old Testament. He lived during the crisis days of Judah when they were being invaded by Babylon, people were being deported, the inhabitants of Jerusalem were being slaughtered, and the Temple was destroyed. The main message was that God was disciplining the people for their disobedience. 

God continues to speak to us today. If we do not turn to Him, we will have crisis after crisis. More people will be slaughtered, more people will have to find work abroad, China will continue to have the temerity to invade our sovereignty, and the Church will continue to be attacked. Lord, forgive us. May we obey You and may the truth be on our lips always. 

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Best Inheritance

“Teach them to your children and your children’s children.” 
Deuteronomy 4:9

What is the greatest legacy we can leave our children and grandchildren? When we speak of legacy, we think inheritance, a bequest of money or property. When I think of what my mom left us, I thank her for the business she started. Our family business is a wonderful gift with many possibilities, and if we take care of it, her grandchildren will benefit from it as well. But the more valuable gift, the more precious inheritance she gave each of us is the gift of faith. She was an example of a woman of faith. My mother made sure we knew our Father, we knew Jesus, that we ran after His promises, and obeyed His laws. 

I remember her bringing us to prayer meetings, rallies, and each time we would line up to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. We would attend Life in the Spirit Seminars, as many as it took to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. She read her Bible from cover to cover I do not know how many times. We went to Mass every single day, and after we would spend an hour in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. 

Even when she was weak from her sickness, she would go to mass and receive communion, hanging on to my arm. Finally, she collapsed during mass, and I insisted she could not go to mass anymore because I could not possibly manage to support her. 

I was listening to Corrie Ten Boom trying to evangelize a woman who said she went to Church every Sunday. “Yes, but a mouse born in a biscuit tin will never be a biscuit.” The woman then added, “My parents are good Christians.” Corrie then replied, “God does not have grandchildren!” God has sons and daughters who have a personal relationship with Him. We cannot get to heaven clutching the dress or the shirt or our parents! 

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Huge Debt!

“But His creditor wouldn’t wait.” Matthew 18:30

I know that having a huge credit card debt can be such a heavy burden. Imagine the debt being erased by the credit card company just by the signature of the President of the bank! Whew! What a relief! Jesus compared the Kingdom of heaven to a king who decided to bring his accounts up to date. In the accounting, it was discovered that a servant owed him millions! Obviously the servant bowing low and pleading before the king would have no means of repaying such a colossal amount. The King took pity and forgave him his debt! 

This same servant, instead of being grateful and understanding, went to a fellow servant who owed him a hundred days wages. He grabbed him by the throat, and demanded instant payment, even if the man was pleading and asking for more time. He had the man arrested and thrown in jail. What did the king do when he heard about it? He got angry and threw the first servant in jail. “Shouldn’t you have shown mercy to your fellow servant just as I had mercy on you?” the king asked. 

Are there people we have not forgiven? Is there someone we resent for his or her actions or words that we cannot forget? Marianne Williamson, a teacher and author, says that unforgiveness is like drinking poison ourselves and waiting for the other person to die! 

Let us rid ourself of any poison of bitterness, anger and resentment. Hard? Yes! Impossible? No. By God’s grace Corrie Ten Boom put out her reluctant hand to forgive the Nazi guard in Ravensbrück Concentration Camp when he came to ask her forgiveness. She remembered walking naked past this same man in his uniform with a leather crop hanging from his belt. She remembered how thin they all were, her sister Betsie in front of her in a line of naked women. And there he was again, in front of her, asking forgiveness. Only by God’s grace was Corrie Ten Boom able to hold up her hand to shake the former guard’s hand. Only by God’s grace will we be able to forgive as God has forgiven us our many sins!

Monday, March 05, 2018

Good Advice

“His flesh becomes like the flesh of a little child.” 2 Kings 5:14

The story of Naaman the leper is certainly one of the more intriguing stories in the Bible, and brings up more questions than answers. Like Jesus said in the Gospel reading for today (Luke 4:24-30), “There were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, only Naaman the Syrian.” 

When the little servant girl tells this valiant, battle-hardened army commander of the King of Aram that there is a prophet in Samaria who could heal him of his leprosy, Naaman asks permission of his King to find him. He appears at the door of the prophet Elisha’s house and the prophet does not bother to come out. Elisha merely sent word that Naaman should wash 7 times in the Jordan and he would be healed. Peeved, Naaman storms off angry. Are not the rivers of Damascus better than all the rivers of Israel???  

Naaman’s officers managed to prevail upon him to do as the prophet advised. Naaman went to the Jordan, dipped himself 7 times in the water, and his flesh became healthy as a young child’s. Now if only we had a prophet like Elisha to consult!!!

I think the problem today is we have too much good advice and too many excuses not to follow. When it comes to our health, perhaps we do not need Elisha. Saint Paul tells the Corinthians, “Whether you eat, drink or whatever you do, do all for the glory of God.” (1 Cor. 10:31) He also tells us we have to take care of our bodies because our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor. 6:19-20)

If we go back to the diet of Jesus, we could be healthier and stronger. We have to learn to say no to processed foods, no to sugar, no to foods with excess fat and bad cholesterol. We have to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. People back in Jesus’ time ate mostly a plant-based diet. They did not have refrigerators so they would have eaten food right away, or ate it raw. 

One of my friends who had a lot of health issues, started a plant-based diet some months ago. Today her medical tests have shown she does not need her medication anymore! If we study and obey the instructions in the Bible, we will truly have fullness of life in every way. We will be more physically and spiritually healthy! 

Friday, March 02, 2018

Master Dreamer

“Here comes that master dreamer...” Genesis 37:19

Joseph was being ridiculed by his brothers for being a dreamer. But unlike other dreamers I know, Joseph’s dreams were not of his own making. God was the one who gave him those special dreams. His brothers became jealous of Joseph especially since their father Jacob gave him a beautiful many colored coat. Instead of appreciating the uniqueness of Joseph and his gifts, most of his brothers spent their energy devising evil schemes to get rid of him. 

Is there someone we are envious of? Irritated with? Can’t stand? Sometimes we don’t like how a person speaks, dresses, or acts. Like you and me, this person is created in the image and likeness of God. Like you and me, he or she was created intricately, to be peculiarly special and distinct by the Master Himself. Our Father took as much care creating every human being as He took fashioning the hypergiant star, VY Canis Majoris. 

Our identity as God’s son or daughter is inherent in us. Intrinsic, built in, ingrained. No one can take that away. We don’t have to earn it. And no matter how many times we fail, we will still have this identity. And no matter how many times we succeed or receive accolades from the world, none of those honors will compare with how God sees us. We need to train our eyes to see with God’s eyes, and appreciate each person the way God loves us.

Thursday, March 01, 2018


“They will not be convinced...” 
Luke 16:31

This is the only time Jesus gives a name to a character in a parable. His name is Lazarus. He is a poor man, diseased, with oozing sores on his body. The dogs would come and lick his sores. Lazarus was begging every day outside a rich man’s home. Perhaps this rich man is nameless because it can be you or me every time we ignore the needs of others. Sometimes the poor, the sick, the orphaned, the widowed, the imprisoned, they are right there in front of us, and we continue to pursue our own business. We do not realize that they are open doors to heaven. 

In the parable, the rich man goes to hell, and Lazarus goes to heaven. The rich man pleads with Abraham to send Lazarus to his 5 brothers to warn them that hell exists. But would his 5 brothers take time to listen to Lazarus, do you think? They would not mind Lazarus with his stinking clothes, and dirty hands. 

Perhaps we live in a gated subdivision and there is no Lazarus at our gate. For Lent, let us look for Lazarus and his family so we will not be one of the nameless in Jesus’ eyes. 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

WOYWW: Mothers and Sons

“Big Bad Wolf” came to town, and my brother Robert bought me this pretty book, “Meaningful Bouquets”. I decided to write the names and meanings of the flowers next to the picture. 

That way, it would be more useful. 

“Promise me that these sons of mine will sit, one on your right hand and the other at your feet in your kingdom.” Matthew 20:21

In another version, it says that the mother of James and John asked Jesus that these two sons of hers be given places of honor in His Kingdom. Jesus replied, “You do not know what you are asking!” Mothers always want the best for their sons. We plead with God for their good health, safety everywhere they go, friendships that will influence them to go the right path, authentic faith, etc. 

Salome, the mother of James and John, had the unique position of being right there with Jesus and His apostles right after He described His death and resurrection. She could not have foreseen that James would be the first of the disciples to be martyred, slain by the sword. Herod Agrippa had started persecuting leaders of the Christians. When James was lead away, his accuser was so moved by his courage that he repented, accepted Jesus and asked to be executed alongside James. 

Salome’s other son John was the only one of the original Twelve who did not die a violent death. He passed away of old age after writing several books of the Old Testament. 

We never know what the future holds for us, and for our loved ones. We can only pray that we all finish running the race well. Jesus tells us how: “Whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave. For even I, the Son of Man, came here not to be served but to serve others, and to give my life as a ransom for many.” 

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Let Us Reason Together

“Come now, let us reason together...” Isaiah 1:18

Here it is as if God is saying to me, there is a reason for your hope. You do not have to take everything I say by faith. When I teach you My ways, there is good judgment behind it. Daily we strive to pray, read His Word, obey Him, do good deeds especially during Lent. The world and all its dissenting voices may tell us we are crazy because there is no god. If there is a god, he does not care. 

But I see there is a God, and He does care. If we really want to know Him, He made a way through the Bible. But how do we know the Bible is true? God has blessed us with evidence, overwhelming data to fight deception. During the holocaust over 20,000 Torah scrolls were destroyed, and the attacks against the Bible and God’s Word continues on. But just as Jesus said in Matthew 24:35, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My Words shall not pass away.” In John 17:17, Jesus claimed, “Thy Word is truth.” If the Bible is true, then it has to have been transmitted accurately from ancient times. Tens of thousands of manuscripts dating from 250 BC, 2 silver amulets dating from the time of Hezekiah with the Aaronic blessing, a 24 ft. long complete scroll of Isaiah, and overwhelmingly so much much more, show us the Word we have in our hands today is 95% accurate. The 5% difference is just minor variations in spelling, and word order, and have nothing to do with the message. There are 3000 surviving handwritten copies of the Iliad, but there are over 42,000 handwritten copies of the Bible today. 

Yes, let us reason with the Lord. He is not a God who is a dictator who wants us to just follow Him without knowing why. He woos us because He loves us. “I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” (Rev. 3:20) Yes Lord, I hear Your voice, and there is nothing I want more than to be friends with You! 

Monday, February 26, 2018

God’s Concern

“Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.” Luke 6:37

I have to deal with this because I do a lot of condemning especially with politicians and the insane things they do and say. I know someone who says God answers his questions. He’s not Catholic so he sees what Catholics do with statues and processions and rosaries. One time he asked God specifically about the Black Nazarene and that yearly chaotic procession of thousands of barefooted devotees. God answered something like he should not concern himself about that. It was His concern. “I knew it was God speaking because that would not have been my answer,” the man said. 

Condemning is always God’s concern, not ours. In the third chapter of John, Jesus says, “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; but he who does not believe has been JUDGED ALREADY...” 

When Jesus came into the world, He was like a piercing light into men’s souls. He did not have to sit on a judgement seat to condemn us. The light reveals all our sins, flaws, hypocrisy, and meanness. Let God do the judging and let us do our part. We just need to repent, believe in Jesus and obey Him.  That way, we can stay in His light. 

Sunday, February 25, 2018


“Jesus’ appearance changed...” 
Mark 9:12

This is one of those Bible stories that is absolutely awesome and amazing, but we usually take it for granted. Jesus took 3 of His disciples up a high mountain. No one else was there but Jesus, Peter, James and John. As they watched, He was transfigured before them. His clothes became more dazzlingly white that nothing on earth could ever make it. Then if that was not astonishing enough, Elijah and Moses appeared and conversed with Jesus. The disciples were understandably terrified. A cloud came over them all, and a voice came out of the cloud: “This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him.”

If we were one of those privileged to see a glorified Jesus, and hear God’s voice, I would expect it would change us so profoundly. Maybe we would like to stay with Jesus on the mountaintop forever, never to come down to the harsh realities of our every day existence. Life can be such a hard climb, and it’s difficult to hold on to our “highs” with the Lord. Harder even to commit to praying and studying the Bible every day, to being with Jesus throughout the day. 

That’s why I have a little notebook where I write my “touchstones” with the Lord. It’s a little like the memorial stones Joshua and his men laid down in Gilgal to remember God’s amazing miracle of letting them pass over the Jordan on dry ground. At the foot of Mt. Sinai, Moses set up an altar of stones to commemorate God’s covenant with Israel. 

It’s easy for us to forget. I am trying right now to remember the Bible verse about not forgetting what the Lord has done and I cannot even find it with google. One time a forgetful sister in community said she found an herb to help her, but when I asked what it was, she forgot the name! So I write down my experiences with the Lord, where He very clearly showed His face and His saving hand. Indeed, these mountaintop experiences with God help me get through my busy schedule, the wearying effects of problems beyond our capacities, and the inevitable discouragement we sometimes feel. 

Yes Lord, Your appearance was transformed. And even now, I trust, You are changing me from “glory to glory”. Like Saint Paul, I am certain You will finish the good work You have started in me. (Philippians 1:6)

Saturday, February 24, 2018

God’s Treasure

“You are my own special treasure...” Deuteronomy 26:18

In another version of the Bible we can read, “you are to be a people peculiarly His own...” How does it feel to be special, to be beloved, cherished, the apple of our Father’s eye? If we know this deep in our heart, if it becomes our fundamental identity as a precious child of the living God, we will be empowered to manifest His love to others. Just as it is true that hurting people hurt others, people who are sure they are loved are unafraid to love and be generous to others. 

In “The Anawim Way”, I read that “Lent is a perfect time to take up the challenge of love- the most worthwhile challenge of all. In this time of holy solitude, we ask God to bring to our minds the people whom we do not yet love, those who have offended or hurt us, our enemies.” 

Each of these people, even our enemies, is God’s special treasure, beloved by Him. Let us try to see them through the eyes of our Father. 

I remember this story of Brendan who was an up and coming DJ in New York. When he would go home to his apartment in Brooklyn, a homeless woman would ask him for money. Each time, he said he didn’t have any. She complained, “You always say no.” Brendan promised, “I am on my way to a job interview. If I get the job, I will take you out for Chinese food.” He kept his promise and surprisingly after that, they supported each other through the hard times. When Brendan lost his job, Jackie would buy groceries with what little money she had. Their lives eventually improved. Jackie was able to move out from living in the streets to a halfway house, the YMCA, and eventually to an apartment of her own. Brendan wanted to help and brought her to Target to pick out stuff she needed. Then he started a campaign online to raise $500. Their story went viral and they’ve raised more than $6000. They’ve decided to use the extra funds to help other women in need. 

Brendan was able to to see Jackie as someone worth his time, and he gained a friendship that made him a better man. Can we take a risk this Lent and see those who are different from us as God’s treasures? 

Friday, February 23, 2018

A Wild Horse

“Whoever is angry with someone will be liable to judgment.” Matthew 5:21

When we are in the grip of anger, it’s very hard to control. I was once brought to the barangay because an employee accused me of hitting her. Instead of using my hands to love and be of service, I used it for harm. Never mind if she made me so mad because of her actions. My anger got the better of me. 

Benjamin Franklin said, “ A man in a passion rides a wild horse.” If we cannot reign in a wild horse, it will bring us places we do not intend to go, and we can even fall and get hurt or worse, incapacitated. Many of us have hidden resentment, or criticism against others. It simmers inside but it really should be brought out into the light to be dealt with, or it can be a poison that we swallow ourselves. Nowadays “anger management” is quite fashionable, but we can look to the Bible for advice. 

In Ephesians 4:26-27, Saint Paul says, “Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold.” We have to deal with it right away and not let the devil use it to tempt us to greater sin, like Cain’s anger with Abel provoked him to murder! We may not murder anyone, but anger can grow into bitterness, revenge and slander, all magnificent blooms in Satan’s garden! 

For Lent, let us think of people who have hurt us and forgive them, or people we have offended, and ask forgiveness from them. It is difficult to do, but oh the freedom we experience afterwards!